NCAA’S PARENTING AND PREGNANCY POLICY ELIMINATES THE FEAR OF LOSING A SCHOLARSHIP DUE TO PREGNANCY

Louisville’s Connie Neal played collegiate basketball eleven days before she gave birth to her daughter.  Syracuse’ Fantasia Goodwin played almost an entire season while pregnant.  Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Ashely Shields would pray before each game that her unborn child would not be injured.  These young women are just a few of the many women who decided to play basketball while pregnant.  Why did they do it?  Because each was afraid that they would lose their scholarship if they told their coaches or their colleges that they were pregnant.

This all changed in 2008, when the NCAA established the Pregnancy and Parenting Policy.  The policy states that a scholarship cannot be withdrawn or reduced due to pregnancy, suspected pregnancy, or termination of pregnancy.  As long as the student athlete remains in good academic standing, and does not withdrawal voluntarily, their scholarship is protected.  Additionally, no player is allowed to be harassed by members of the University for becoming pregnant, nor are those members allowed to try to influence the player to make certain decisions regarding her pregnancy.  All medically necessary absences from team activities should be considered excused absences.

This policy is in compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex, including the guarantee of equal educational opportunity to pregnant and parenting students.  The policy states that “our student-athletes cannot be discriminated against because of their parental or marital status, pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery.”

Since the policy was enacted, NCAA athletes have become more vocal about their pregnancies and encouraging others not to keep it a secret.  University of Southern California point guard Brynn Cameron became known for having her son on the sidelines.  She has since encouraged other pregnant college athletes to contact her if they need to discuss the transition from student-athlete to student-athlete-mother.

For a detailed handbook on the NCAA’s Parenting and Pregnancy Policy follow this link: http://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/PregnancyToolkit.pdf

This article used information about former pregnant athletes which can be found at: http://www.sptimes.com/2008/02/24/Sports/For_pregnant_athletes.shtml

Met’s Player Unfairly Criticized For Taking Paternity Leave

On March 31, 2014, Daniel Murphy’s wife went into labor with their first child.  Murphy, excited by this news, immediately took three-days off work for paternity leave to be with his wife and baby.  However, the very next day he was berated by the media for even thinking of leaving work to be with his wife and child.  Why?  Because Daniel Murphy, in addition to apparently being a supportive husband, is also the second baseman for the New York Mets and chose to take his paternity leave on Opening Day.

The media, specifically led by radio hosts Mike Francesca and Boomer Esiason, labeled Murphy as selfish.  Francesca, a father himself, stated that one day off might be allowable, but no more than that.  Specifically, he said on his radio show “You’re a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help.”  Esiason, also a father, said that he would have told his wife to have a Caesarean section before the season began so that he could be at Opening Day.

Aside from the fact that Murphy only missed two of the 162 games in the 2013 season, there is a much bigger reason that Murphy should not be criticized.  The paternity leave is in his contract.  Major League Baseball has a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the player’s union which, in Article XV, Section N, agrees to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act and to additionally allow for a player to take a paternity leave.  In fact, Murphy was not even the only player to take paternity leave on Opening Day, as Minnesota Twins pitcher Brian Duensing also missed time to be with his wife and newborn.

Not only are these players being criticized for missing what amounts to less than two percent of the season, but they are being unfairly condemned for exercising a contractual right.

To see the videos of the radio host’s criticisms follow this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/03/mike-francesa-daniel-murphy_n_5083509.html

To view the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement follow this link: http://mlb.mlb.com/pa/pdf/cba_english.pdf

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