- May 15, 2007 at 1:18 am #6298
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Clemson track coach told her athletes
that becoming pregnant could jeopardize their scholarships, but the
school said Monday no students lost their aid and the policy was
The warnings came to light Sunday when ESPN, citing an anonymous
female athlete at the school, reported that at least seven current
and former Clemson athletes had abortions for fear of losing their
scholarships. The athlete told the sports network that she had an
abortion after a school official told her she could lose her
scholarship by being pregnant.
Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips said in a statement
posted on the school's athletic department Web site that track
coach Marcia Noad had presented her team with written rules, which
included the lines, “Pregnancy resulting in the inability to
compete and positively contribute to the program's success will
result in the modification of your grant-in-aid money. Please
consult your coaching staff immediately to discuss.”
- May 15, 2007 at 4:05 am #23015
Why was the policy dropped? Was there a problem?
- May 15, 2007 at 12:27 pm #23016
The problem was that ESPN reported that an anonymous source tipped them off on several athletes getting abortions in order to keep their scholarships.
While I can understand that this brings you into some touchy areas, I think we have to realize one thing about scholarship athletes. They are being paid to compete at a very high level for their schools. If anything gets in the way of their competing and helping the program, yes, their scholarships will be on the line. Programs, especially those like T&F where there may not be that much money available, can't afford to pay their athletes to take the season off. While this may be a touchy and politically charged situation, scholarships are hard to come by and coaches have to be very selective about who gets the scholarships. They could lose their jobs due to the underperformance of their teams if they give scholarships to athletes who can't compete at the highest level while other athletes who could help the team more go to other schools because they weren't offered a scholarship.
- May 15, 2007 at 4:35 pm #23017
“politically charged”… wow, that's putting it mildly… I can see the rationale behind the policy… really a no-win situation for all involved…
- May 15, 2007 at 8:23 pm #23018
I aim to play down, in an attempt to diffuse, potentially explosive controversial topics. 😉
It is a very difficult situation for everyone involved and I doubt the apparently spoken policy is not an unspoken policy at many other schools. However, when coaches cut scholarships when their own actions lead to injuries that prevent the athletes from competing, why outside of the “politically charged” reason should cutting scholarships when the choices of the athletes themselves result in circumstances that prevent the athletes from competing be such a big issue?
- May 15, 2007 at 11:42 pm #23019
So the controversy would be that it was an explicit mandate in the thick of Jesusland, no? It is not as if Clemson is a private, religiously-affiliated insititution. These women weighed out having a child against keeping an athletic scholarship (likely among other trade-offs) and decided to go with the latter. They made that decision as adults based on their own, individual values. It seems like a rather extreme view to consider it an endorsement of abortion by Clemson. It only makes sense that it would be an unwritten rule most places, and I have heard of an instance of an assistant coach losing his job because he impregnated one of the female athletes. If I were a college coach then I would likely exercise the same standard. Then again, I would also likely exercise a similar policy with respect to athletes who sustain significant injury from skiing or climbing or messing around on motorcycles and the like, regardless of gender, and if it was a male athlete who impregnated the female athlete then I would likely send him packing, too.
- May 15, 2007 at 11:55 pm #23020
If we wanted to wade into the religion/morals issue, here's a thought. Couldn't such a policy be viewed as promoting chastity? Just because some women chose another path doesn't mean the school was promoting the path they chose.
So much for diffusing the potentially explosive topic. Now, it's right out there. Let's see how long it takes for the bomb to go off. 😉
- May 16, 2007 at 12:17 am #23021
Well, likely not that, either. The school/department/coach seemed to be promoting responsibility in preventing pregnancy, with good reason, and the avenue to achieving that is left up to the individual, as it should be. I honestly have a hard time seeing what is really wrong with such a policy.
- May 16, 2007 at 11:53 am #23022
wouldn't it be nice to think that 'kids' would realize that being responsible about preventing pregnancy is impotant… just like preventing AIDS, drug addiction, alcoholism, etc… having a college age kid who is more observant than most is interesting… even HE (at 19) can see that most people around his age (+/- 3 years) think they can do anything and not only get away with it, but it has no real consequence…
GTF, admirable idea to hold the guys to the same standard…
and I think in the Bible belt (especially) many adults think that if you outlaw abortion you'd somehow make teen sex go away, just like prohibition stopped drinking and making marijuana & steroids illeagal has stopped their use…
- May 16, 2007 at 12:36 pm #23023
Rita, I happened to notice the same thing when I was in school. A lot of people who had no concern for the consequences of their actions. It's a sad statement but I think that's pretty typical.
I also like GTF's idea. Hold all responsible parties to the same standard.
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