What's Going On
College protests at Mizzou were already in full swing when football players there went on strike, but that act of defiance by the players was a game changer. If the football players hadn’t shown up for the upcoming game, the school would’ve lost millions of dollars. So the football players gave protesters on campus the leverage they needed to get concessions from the administration. Now Missouri legislators are working to ensure that athletes are never again able to hold the university hostage.
A Republican lawmaker in the Missouri House of Representatives has proposed a bill that would strip scholarships from students who refuse to play over non-health related reasons.
The bill was “obviously in reaction to the athletes who were saying they weren’t going to play to what they considered to be social issues on campus”, one of the bill’s sponsors, Kurt Bahr, told Columbian Missourian.
The bill would revoke scholarship from any athlete who “calls, incites, supports, or participates in any strike or concerted refusal to play a scheduled game.” Members of the coaching staff would also risk punishment if they encouraged such action.
According to the bill, “any member of a coaching staff who encourages or enables a college athlete to engage in behavior……shall be fined by his or her institution of employment”.
“The issue really is, they can have the freedom of speech (when they) like or don’t like something on campus,” Bahr said. “But if they’re going to receive state money, there are going to be ramifications.”
In all likelihood the bill won’t have any sway over universities since athletic scholarships are not state funded. According to the Missourian, The Tiger Scholarship Fund pays for athletic scholarships.