I for one salute the Honorable Representative from Clackamas for attempting to holding Rob Mullens and his coaches feet to the fire on what is surely the most egregious problem in college sports. This is just the sort of legislation that restores my faith in the ability of government – with the vital help of properly incentivized big-time college sports coaches, of course – to do what we as parents have failed to do for millennia.
For a more cynical view, see Canzano. From Rep Bynum’s heartfelt testimony:
Chair Lively, vice-chairs McIntire and Ruiz, for the record my name is Janelle Bynum, and I am the State Representative for House District 39.
As a proud football and basketball mom I’ve seen how sports can bring communities together and teach young athletes discipline, comradery, and sacrifice. At times though, the baser instincts of crowds and group think can take over and turn what is a refuge for many of our youth into a hostile and derisive environment. This is especially true in collegiate athletics where fans often fail to realize that the players they are cheering for or jeering against are barely old enough to vote.
House Bill 2472 places responsibility on Universities to develop basic reporting systems and staff training to respond to derogatory and inappropriate behavioral at interscholastic sporting events. The bill does not strive to create a strict regimen to regulate and take the fun out of college sports. Rather, we are setting a bare minimum that universities must comply with to respond to behavior that goes far outside the bounds of reasonable spectatorship.
I’ve sponsored previous legislation requiring Oregon high schools to meet many of the same standards addressed in this bill. While our collegiate sports at times take on the appearance of professionalism with the large stadiums and sponsorships, the fact remains that these athletes are still young developing adolescences. Events such as those that occurred last season at the Oregon vs BYU football game exemplify the type of behavior that creates hostile environments not fit for families hoping to enjoy a weekend day watching their favorite team.
As the proud mother of an Oregon Duck football player, I appreciate how college sports can cultivate great leaders and teach them skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives. However, I’ve also heard horror stories from players, coaches, and staff about out-of-control behavior from student sections and fans that provides nothing productive. Anyone who knows me knows I am a competitive person, but interscholastic competition must contemplate sportsmanship and basic decency. House Bill 2472 places a low bar that universities can easily meet to create a more hospitable sporting atmosphere for fans and athletes, without taking away from the entertainment and traditions of collegiate athletics.
Colleagues, for these reasons I ask you to support House Bill 2472.
A BILL FOR AN ACT
Relating to behavior related to interscholastic activities; and declaring an emergency.
Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:
SECTION 1. (1) A public university listed in ORS 352.002 may participate in interscholastic activities, including but not limited to interscholastic sporting events, only if the public university:
(a) Implements equity focused policies that address the use of derogatory or inappropriate names, insults, verbal assaults, profanity or ridicule that occurs at an interscholastic activity, including by spectators of the interscholastic activity;
(b) Maintains a transparent complaint process that:
(A) Has a reporting system to allow participants of interscholastic activities or members of the public to make complaints about student, coach or spectator behavior;
(B) Responds to a complaint made under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph within 48 hours of the complaint being received; and
(C) Strives to resolve a complaint received under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph within 30 days of the complaint being received;
(c) Develops and implements a system of sanctions against students, coaches and spectators if a complaint made under paragraph (b) of this subsection is verified; and
(d) Performs an annual survey of students to understand and respond to potential violations of equity focused policies adopted under paragraph (a) of this subsection or violations of ORS 659.850.
(2) Each employee of a public university whose official duties relate to the athletics de- partment of the public university must receive formal training regarding the requirements established by subsection (1) of this section.
(3) If a sporting event is hosted by a public university listed in ORS 352.002 and attendees at the sporting event engage in the use of derogatory or inappropriate names, insults, verbal assaults, profanity or ridicule in violation of equity focused policies adopted under subsection (1)(a) of this section, the public university must:
(a) Suspend the athletic director of the public university for at least one week; and
(b) Suspend the head coach of the athletic team of the public university that was participating in the sporting event for at least one week.
(4) A public university that fails to comply with the requirements set forth in subsection (1) of this section, or to meaningfully enforce the requirements set forth in subsection (1) of this section, may not receive public moneys in the form of state grants, state scholarship moneys or support from the Oregon State Police.
SECTION 2. The Higher Education Coordinating Commission shall work with independent universities, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, professional organizations, student organizations, cultural organizations and religious organizations to develop rules for inter- scholastic codes of conduct. To the degree practicable, the commission shall promote the adoption of codes of conduct comparable to the requirements that public universities listed in ORS 352.002 must adopt pursuant to section 1 of this 2023 Act.
SECTION 3. Section 1 of this 2023 Act first applies to the 2023-2024 academic year.
SECTION 4. This 2023 Act being necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is declared to exist, and this 2023 Act takes effect on its passage.
I’m not sure what coaches and ADs are supposed to do about this situation. This feels like a thing where once the mob decides to be belligerent, any attempt to rein them in will (in the moment) only make things worse. I could be wrong, though — I’m no crowd psychologist…
Well, not serving alcohol would be a start – but then that helps pay the coaches salaries.
That’s a good point — at my undergraduate institution no alcohol was sold at the football games and yet, somehow, amazingly, everyone was drunk anyway! Huh.