Connecticut’s got a lot of problems. There’s no need to re-hash the whole list, but things could be going better, especially when it comes to our money.

And that very financial concern is what has me torn over a CBS report that Connecticut might create a special commission to oversee the health and safety of college athletes.

While the proposal is still in the early stages and seems undefined in how far-reaching it would become, the people behind the proposal have laid out their intentions this way:

  • Designate college, conference and NCAA staff as mandated reporters of suspected athlete abuse and violations of commission requirements. Huma said this could be the first state bill that would regulate the NCAA.
  • Monitor and enforce best practices for player safety.
  • Receive and investigate player abuse complaints, enacting penalties if allegations are substantiated.
  • Provide whistle-blower protection for those reporting suspected player abuse.

You might say this kind of thing isn’t a concern for the government, but it’s a very real concern in a state where college athletics get top billing. UConn may be dominant on the basketball court and Quinnipiac and Yale may be triumphant in the hockey rink, but the health of those athletes is something often left unaddressed.

Unlike the NFL, where health and safety are under constant public scrutiny, I’m not sure many people could tell you how our colleges and universities handle things like concussions or painkiller abuse. That’s not to say anyone is doing anything wrong or mistreating the athletes, but especially at public colleges and universities, some oversight seems reasonable. And that’s the case that this proposal is making.

Unfortunately, the idea comes at a time when our state is at a serious crossroads. With budgetary incompetence directing every move we make, it’s hard to dedicate resources to a commission like this. Sure, watching over our athletes to make sure they’re properly cared for is a worthwhile endeavor – especially when the schools can make millions off of their athletic achievements. But at the same time, would the public stand for another expense that doesn’t benefit the state as a whole?

I’m genuinely torn. I am almost always on the side of caring for these athletes. After all, they entertain us and bring publicity and money to our state without any real compensation. But this state has been so mismanaged that, sadly, that level of care might be considered a luxury we can’t afford right now.

What do you think? Would you support this proposal or not?

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