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Response to WSJ story on NCAA (Sept. 25, 2015)

Many valuable life lessons can be learned through participation in sports. I believe it’s important for universities to look at expanding opportunities outside the NCAA, but at Michigan State University, we’re not proposing a revolutionary alternative to supporting our NCAA sports.

A reader of Friday’s Wall Street Journal article, “Do College Sports Really Need the NCAA?” might get such an impression. The writer took remarks I made to her earlier this year about wanting to explore providing some medical oversight to non-NCAA sport participants as indicating a desire to move expensive NCAA sports to club status. There are no plans in place at this time to alter our array of NCAA sports.

There is significant value to what students learn through sport. What we are trying to do is provide a continuum of opportunity for our students, from NCAA sports to club sports to intramural. We believe expanding and enhancing these opportunities, whenever possible, is an important part of our Healthy Campus Initiative. Sport can be a powerful aspect of learning.

We also believe an approach focused on the health and safety of students participating in sports across such a continuum will become the routine way universities operate. We’re being proactive in this area by having a study group explore the possibility of providing some types of medical screening and oversight to club sports.

Lou Anna K. Simon
President, Michigan State University