Chances are you’ve made up your mind at this point who you are voting for on Election Day. Or in many cases, who you are voting against.
You can never be too informed about a decision of this magnitude, and although it may not have a tangible consequence on your vote, you should know before going into the booth how each candidate might ultimately affect major facets of your life.
Understanding each candidate’s policies and ideas as they pertain to college athletics is important, but can be a challenge. They aren’t exactly arguing the finer points of the student-athlete welfare during the debates. So, at the risk of inciting rage from one side or the other, we decided to review Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s past statements, endorsements, interactions, and stated policies so that you may make up your own mind on Election Day.
Decades of celebrity have brought Trump into contact with the sports world on numerous occasions. Most famously, he owned the USFL’s New Jersey Generals franchise, and is widely regarded as being the reason for the league’s failure. This is in part due to his advocacy of moving the USFL’s season from spring to fall so that it might compete directly with the NFL. In 2014, Trump would publicly state his interest in purchasing the Buffalo Bills, but this ultimately did not come to fruition.
Trump has received numerous public endorsements from both former and current college coaches, including Lou Holtz, who attended the Republican National Convention, and Mike Leach and Bob Knight, who spoke at Trump rallies in Washington and Indiana respectively. There was also the much publicized and controversial event in which members of the Iowa Hawkeyes football and wrestling teams joined Trum onstage at an Iowa rally.
Conversely, Trump has also been criticized by a number of college coaches and administrators, most notably Jim Beheim, who during his time with the US men’s national basketball team in Rio stated, “it’s a sad state of affairs that he could be running for president.”
Understanding Trump’s position on topics close to college athletics can prove difficult, as his opinion can sway from moment to moment. This can be best illustrated by his original position after the revelations of sexual misconduct at Penn State, and his revised position once a settlement was reached regarding the program’s punishment.
Although he has not commented specifically on the NCAA efforts to increase player safety, his thoughts on the NFL’s new policies are clear.
The NFL has just barred ball carriers from using helmet as contact. What is happening to the sport? The beginning of the end.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2013
The Trump campaign has made few statements regarding his proposed impact on college sports, but the official Republican Party positions may be relevant. Specifically, the GOP argues that Title IX has been “perverted” in order to protect sexual preference, and “micromanage the way colleges and universities deal with allegations” of sexual abuse. And while the party does hold the position that federal involvement in accreditation and student lending should be limited, the candidate himself has mostly stuck to the general statement that, “one of the biggest problems facing young people and families today is the cost of college education,” an idea that is not unique in this election.
What is unique is the proposal put forth by Trump surrogates to impose a “skin in the game” policy in regards to student lending, where universities would be held partly culpable for excess debt incurred by graduates who were unable to secure suitable employment after receiving their degrees.
While Secretary Clinton, does consider herself a sports fan, most notably rooting for both the Yankees and Cubs, her involvement with college athletics has also been limited. During her time with the State Department, Clinton forged a partnership with espnW, the network’s female focused property, to found the Global Sports Mentoring Program.
The program is intended to develop “new lasting relationships and a global network of women and girls who strive to create positive change in their home communities through sports” and is currently administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Clinton has not been without sports related scandal. Throughout her early campaign, Clinton often referenced her father’s experience as a football player for Penn State, specifically that he attended on scholarship. However, when these claims were investigated, it was discovered that her father, Hugh Rodham, did receive a varsity letter from the university in 1934, but Penn State did not in fact award freshmen athletic scholarships between 1928 and 1949.
More recently, Clinton threw her backing behind the NCAA in their decision to pull all championship events from the state of North Carolina following the passage of their infamous HB2 law.
The @NCAA is right to pull tournament games from North Carolina because of the anti-LGBT HB2 law. Discrimination has no place in America. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 13, 2016
Like Trump, Clinton also argues that student loan debt has reached unacceptable levels, however her proposal to make tuition more affordable has been met with numerous challenges. Most notably, it has been cited that cost has not been the primary barrier to entry for most prospective students, and that there is currently a glut of degreed individuals in this country, and not enough jobs that would be considered “desirable” for graduates.
Although neither candidate has discussed the topics surrounding college athletics at length, it can be inferred from their previous comments and associations where they might fall on certain issues. While this may not sway your vote one way or the other, it should at least shed light on how college sports might change once the winner is announced on November 8th.
Matthew Monte is Managing Editor of College AD and formerly Co-Managing Editor of Underdog Dynasty. He is a graduate of The B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration at UL Lafayette, mostly because it didn't require a foreign language. Matt is also a recovering stand up comedian who occasionally relapses.