There is probably no more significant roadblock for college athletes seeking meaningful educations than the unreasonable amounts of time they must engage in practice, travel to competitions, and other athletics-related activities. College presidents and boards of trustees continue to seek more favorable conference memberships pursuing the highest media rights fee payouts, ignoring the impact of long-distance travel on athletes. In every NCAA and conference survey and through numerous research studies, athletes have made their concerns and needs known. Excessive athletics time demands are interfering with sleep, prohibiting recovery from injury and strenuous exercise sessions, increasing the dangers of concussion, inducing stress that affects mental health, and interfering with academic responsibilities.
In the aftermath of the recent historic realignments of college athletics, which among other impacts have led to the effective end of the PAC-12 as a Power 5 regionally based entity, The Drake Group Education Fund (TDGEF) issued a strong statement on the effects of these changes on the athletes themselves. The purpose of these conference membership changes was choosing affiliations based on the value of the conference college football cable television contracts. It simply didn’t matter how far teams have to travel to play or the effect of such travel on athletes’ health and academic obligations.