USC to Award 4-Year Sports Scholarships in Football, Basketball

The University of Southern California announced Monday that all of its football and men's and women's basketball scholarships would last for four years, instead of being the common one-year renewable grant. While it is commonly assumed that college athletic scholarships are for four years, the reality is that most are not -- an issue that has surfaced frequently in the growing debate over whether college athletes are treated fairly. In mandating four-year scholarships for all current and future football and men's and women's basketball players, USC Athletics Director Pat Haden said "USC hopes to help lead the effort to refocus on student-athlete welfare on and off the field."

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Oregon Athletes Accused of Sexual Assault Suspended for Up to 10 Years

Three former University of Oregon men's basketball players accused of sexually assaulting a female student will be suspended from the campus for as long as the alleged victim remains enrolled at the university, The Oregonian reported. The suspension could last between 4 and 10 years.

The alleged assault occurred on March 9, and the players were dismissed from the team in late April. The county district attorney's office did not charge any of the suspects due to insufficient evidence.

"My client is very relieved to get the news," John Clune, the attorney for the victim, told Inside Higher Ed. "It is the right result and it would have been very hard to stay at the UO if it came out another way."

News of the suspension comes as several universities grapple with how to appropriately punish students accused of sexual assault and protect assault victims, even when the suspects have not been found guilty in criminal court.

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McCaskill: Campus sexual assault legislation coming after August recess

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Senator Claire McCaskill says legislation she will introduce this fall will eye tougher penalties for colleges -- but could provide relief from burdensome reporting requirements. 

Education Department Again Delays ‘State Authorization’ Rule

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Education is again delaying the deadline for when colleges must comply with a requirement that they obtain authorization from regulators in each state in which they are physically located.

The rule was set to take effect next month, but the department announced Monday that it is pushing the deadline back to July 1, 2015. This is the second time the department has provided such an extension for a rule that many colleges have said is confusing. Some have also said the rule is being enforced unfairly.  

The regulation is aimed at setting some minimum standards for how a state approves colleges operating within its borders. States, for example, must have a process for accepting student complaints about a college. The rule also sets out the conditions under which state regulators can use an institution’s accreditation or business licenses as a substitute for a more intensive approval process.

Those state authorization requirements that are now being delayed affect only those colleges that have physical locations, not distance education providers.

The department’s separate state authorization requirement for distance education programs was struck down by a federal appeals court in 2012. Department officials are currently rewriting those rules after a negotiated rule making panel failed to reach consensus on the issue earlier this year. 

Former College Basketball Player Sues NCAA Over Concussions

A former college basketball player is suing the National Collegiate Athletic Association, alleging that it failed to protect college athletes from the long-term effects of concussive head injuries.

James Cunningham asserts that he suffers "from constant headaches, memory loss, dizziness, severe depression, speech impediments, panic disorder, anxiety, mobility issues, irritability, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and panic disorder," according to a complaint filed June 20. Cunningham was a member of the Arizona State University and University of Tulsa basketball teams in the mid-1990s.

"Mr. Cunningham did not suffer from these conditions prior to incurring the concussions while playing NCAA basketball," the complaint reads. "In addition to his severe medical conditions which require constant treatment and monitoring, Mr. Cunningham is at an increased risk of developing latent brain injuries or additional neurodegenerative disorders."

Cunningham alleges that the NCAA was aware of "mounting literature and medical advice" about concussive injuries in college sports. He is seeking $75,000 in damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, negligence, and fraudulent concealment.

While previous lawsuits and media attention has tended to focus on the injuries sustained by football players, concussions are a danger for college athletes in many types of sports. In October, a Samford University soccer player also sued the NCAA, arguing that the association did not do enough to educate athletes on the dangers of head trauma.

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Scientists note NSF push for data on mentoring in grant proposals

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Some professors applying for NSF grants notice their proposals are increasingly evaluated in part on data-driven evidence of the way they work with students. Not everybody likes the trend.

Discussion focuses on envisioning faculty models of the future

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Adjuncts became the majority teaching force haphazardly over many decades, participants at TIAA-CREF symposium say. Now it's time to focus on creating better ways to employ the non-tenured.

State Report Reveals Why Illinois Higher Ed Chief Left

When George Reid left his position as executive director of the Illinois State Board of Higher Education, the announcement said he was leaving for personal reasons. But a state audit report released Friday revealed that Reid left amid concerns that he was using a state-financed rental car for his own personal needs, and that this pattern cost the state $6,500, The Chicago Sun-Times reported. The state report also revealed that when Reid was hired, the board knew that in a previous position at Kentucky State University, Reid had been found to be using university funds for personal items, such as a trailer hitch for a boat and a cat scratching post. The newspaper reached someone at Reid's home, but the phone went dead while the person was taking a message for Reid.

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Penn Rejects Divestment of Tobacco Company Stock

The University of Pennsylvania board on Friday rejected a proposal that it sell endowment holdings in tobacco companies, as faculty and student groups have urged. A statement from David L. Cohen, Penn's board chair, noted that the university has established criteria for divestment, and Cohen said that tobacco did not meet a key criterion: being morally evil. "After thorough deliberation, the board has determined that the tobacco proposal does not meet the criterion of establishing that there exists a moral evil," the statement said. "The linchpin of any divestment decision at Penn rests on the interpretation of moral evil, which we would view as an activity such as genocide or apartheid. We fully appreciate and understand the concerns that were raised by those who advocate divestment, and we recognize that reasonable people may disagree on this issue. Nonetheless, it is the carefully considered judgment of the board that the manufacture and sale of tobacco products – which is widely accepted as legal, although significantly regulated, in this country – does not qualify as a moral evil." Cohen did say that the university would not seek to add tobacco holdings and that it would use its influence in companies in which it invests to promote responsible policies.

Chris Feudtner, a professor of medical ethics who has helped advocate for divestment, had this reaction via email: "Open and vigorous debate can lead to positive change. Today the trustees of the university took action to prospectively divest from tobacco holding, to use what holdings it retains to advocate for the cessation of tobacco marketing to minors and the curtailment of marketing in the developing world, and to avow the university's commitment to improving the health of individuals and the public by diminishing the harm caused by tobacco. While these steps do not constitute total divestment, they represent a victory for better aligning our institutional values and actions."

White House publishes new rules for reporting, investigating sexual assaults

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Education Department proposes new federal regulations that would require universities to report incidents of dating and domestic violence as well as sexual assault, and let accusers and the accused have advisers during disciplinary hearings. 


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