Ohio State’s Monitoring of Athletes’ Spending Raises Concerns

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
At Ohio State, one slice of an ambitious universitywide compliance department overhaul fostered something of a national debate last week on oversight in college sports. It did not involve study habits, training habits or dietary habits. It involved spending habits and whether they should be monitored and who should monitor them. Ohio State, as part of this compliance makeover, “strongly encourages” athletes, especially football and men’s and women’s basketball players, to open checking accounts. University officials, including assistants, help those athletes open the accounts, set budgets and set up direct deposit. They also monitor spending, as first reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education, although not on a line-by-line basis. The university described this policy as financial education, a level beyond what the N.C.A.A. requires but in a positive, trailblazer sense. Those who study college sports said that although portions of the policy made them uncomfortable, it could provide a blueprint for future compliance efforts at other universities. Critics saw this as a violation of privacy, a way for Ohio State to protect the big business of football under the guise of education.

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