Our Letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert: Investigate Harms Caused by C-19 Shot Mandates

Mandates cause student athletes harm and discrimination

On June 30, No College Mandates sent the letter below to NCAA President Mark Emmert. We asked Mr. Emmert and the NCAA to investigate the negative impact on collegiate athletes resulting from Covid-19 vaccination mandates at more than 1,000 colleges. A copy of the letter was sent to NCAA senior leadership, NCAA Board of Governors members, the Division I Board of Directors, the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, and more than 140 Collegiate Athletic Directors across the country.

As the author of that letter, I’d like to share my perspective on vaccine mandates.

I am senior administrator at one of the nation’s top universities.

I am also the father to multiple recruited Division I athletes.

In my higher ed job, I watched my very prestigious institution send everyone home to stop the spread and then conduct two semesters of online learning, before ultimately mandating an experimental vaccine to the entire population of students, faculty, and staff. The coercion was entirely unethical. Almost everyone was compliant–enthusiastic even–but I am sickened by what I witnessed. The student population was mandated to take a medical procedure or else face disenrollment. There was no informed consent.

As a father of student-athletes, I watched other institutions use the same tactics on my own children. Even my COVID-recovered child was mandated to get the experimental product in order to be on campus and compete. Regardless of natural antibody count. Regardless of anything.

All parents of recruited athletes are aware of the pressure placed on high-school kids to “commit” and then “sign” with a college or university. After signing a National Letter of Intent (NLI), normally to lock-in the promised amount of athletic scholarship, the NCAA process then binds that student to the university for a one-year period and the student can no longer entertain offers from other schools. Student-athletes have committed to universities BEFORE knowing what the school vaccination or booster policy will be. It is unethical at best that college athletes (at some but not all NCAA member institutions) are forced to get vaccinations/boosters by the administration or by athletics staff after they have committed under different terms. These young and very healthy students–at almost no risk from the virus–are being forced to take this product based on the now completely debunked belief that by doing so, they protect the more vulnerable members of the community. (As early as April 2021, questions arose about whether COVID vaccines did in fact prevent infection and transmission. By August 2021, the CDC had confirmed that COVID vaccines do NOT prevent infection and transmission.)

The continuing campus outbreaks, even in entirely vaccinated populations, raise serious concerns regarding efficacy. It is clear that we will never “inject” our way out of this pandemic, but colleges and universities appear set to continue this nonsense until somebody puts a stop to it.

Of greatest and most urgent concern is safety. There is no long-term safety data on these products. It is a fact that some student-athletes have developed injuries and side-effects from these shots, and based on numerous studies, a certain percentage of incoming student-athletes will be similarly harmed. Others have and continue to suffer from declined performance. Athletes may even be at higher risk for adverse events than the regular population.

The NCAA can stop this and protect their young athletes.

I call on Mr. Emmert to take action as a result of this letter. I hope he will.

Name Withheld (to prevent reprisal by my employer and to protect my children’s privacy)

June 30, 2022

Mr. Mark Emmert President National Collegiate Athletic Association 700 W. Washington Street
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-6222

Dear Mr. Emmert:

We are writing to notify you of letters that were recently mailed to thousands of college and university leaders, trustees, and responsible officials across the country, and to request action on behalf of hundreds of thousands of NCAA student-athletes. We have enclosed a sample of this letter addressed to the President of Georgetown University, who also serves as the chair of your Board of Governors.

The NCAA’s leadership and governance were critical in the Fall of 2021, when competitive sports resumed and a nationally televised college football season created a sense of normalcy for the country. The 2022 men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments were equally thrilling for student-athletes, participating institutions, and millions of fans. Hundreds of thousands of parents were excited to see their student-athletes resume competition across all 24 NCAA sports last year. While it was sad to see some institutions insist on extreme protocols–as others truly returned to normal–the NCAA’s decision-making is commendable. We implore you to now exert the same influence  and leadership by addressing dangerous and discriminatory Covid-19 vaccination policies and practices that continue to exist at many NCAA institutions.

More than 100,000 student-athletes will soon be entering college for the first time, and some will be required to undergo Covid-19 vaccination or booster shots as a requirement for attendance. Many have already contracted and recovered from Covid-19, remain unvaccinated, and would choose to forgo this procedure if given the choice. It is concerning that many NCAA participating institutions are not allowing choice on the matter. Based on current adverse reaction data, it is statistically certain that a number of these new student-athletes will be harmed by the current products. We are also aware that some of the returning NCAA student-athletes –who were required to take Covid-19 vaccination or boosters due to 2021-2022 mandates–have experienced significant adverse reactions. Further investigation into the extent of these reactions and their long-term impact on athletic performance is essential.

Most recruited student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) to commit to their universities, and it is unethical to require an invasive, irreversible, experimental medical procedure (not described in the NLI) as a condition of individual or team participation and competition. We recognize that the mandates are not imposed by the NCAA, but rather by a subset of NCAA participating institutions. However, student-athletes are legally bound to an institution via NCAA’s recruitment and commitment processes and regulations. In many cases, student-athletes are informed of mandates long after they have obligated themselves via NLI, and the student-athlete is in no position to stand up to college and university administrators, athletic directors, and coaches who hold enormous power over recruited athletes and their scholarships. This leads to unethical coercion and sets dangerous precedent. Given what numerous studies have revealed about adverse events in young people associated with these products (myocarditis and pericarditis being of special concern in athletes), it is clear that that any Covid-19 vaccination decisions must be left to the individual student-athlete and NOT the institution, its athletic director, or the coaching staff.

Unvaccinated student-athletes at some NCAA institutions have been discriminated against with additional testing, masking, distancing, or transportation requirements. The pressure to conform can be intense, and there is concern about impacts to mental health when bodily autonomy is threatened, or when unvaccinated student-athletes are shamed because of their individual and personal medical decisions. Continued disparate treatment, based on Covid-19 vaccination status, must be stopped immediately.

We now know that the currently available products do not stop infection or transmission, and there are reports that the National Football League is suspending its surveillance testing program.  We believe that the NCAA has the power–and a legal obligation–to take immediate action in the three areas described below.  In light of the recent findings described in our enclosed letter, failure to act may not only risk the reputation of your organization but could also invite lawsuits from vaccine-injured student-athletes. The NCAA is now on notice of this information.

Our requested course of action is as follows:

1)    Investigate the number of vaccine or booster-related injuries and negative performance outcomes across all NCAA sports. Your Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports should engage directly with coaches and student-athletes and allow for anonymous reporting of negative outcomes observed at the coach/trainer/athlete level. How many student-athletes have lost a season to vaccine or booster-related complications? How many can no longer perform at the same level? The answers to these questions are essential for your organization and the public to know.

2)    Issue guidance to all participating NCAA institutions that will put an end to discrimination based on Covid-19 vaccination status. It was wrong to require unvaccinated student-athletes to distance themselves from teammates, undergo rigorous unnecessary testing or masking (often as a form of punishment), or be excluded from certain team activities. The vaccines and boosters have not stopped transmission, and these practices at some institutions have caused significant harm to the mental health of students who may have been exempted for valid religious/medical/other reasons. After your guidance is released, consider investigating any vaccination and booster discrimination via the NCAA Infractions Process.

3)    If you are unable to stop discrimination at the institutional level, immediately implement a process for student-athletes to find admittance at a school that will honor their individual choices related to vaccines or boosters. Some incoming freshmen and returning student-athletes are still unaware of how their school will be mandating vaccination for 2022-2023. If a student-athlete learns of a new or continuing mandate (with some institutions requiring booster after booster with no apparent end), that student-athlete should be allowed to immediately pursue another athletic opportunity at a non-mandate school. NLI’s should be voided, and scholarship allocations should be allowed to follow the athlete. If a student-athlete is required to transfer on the basis of a vaccine or booster mandate, the NCAA should not count that scholarship towards the normal Division I and II limit for the sport at the gaining institution. Special expedited admissions processes would also be required for this subset of student-athletes who need to find a new school quickly.

We thank you for your leadership, and request urgent attention to this serious matter.

Yours truly,

No College Mandates

No College Mandates is a coalition of thousands of concerned students, parents, professors, staff, and community members working to end college Covid-19 vaccination mandates and restore medical choice on college campuses.

Encl: Letter to Georgetown University President John DeGioia dated May 18, 2022


NCAA Leadership

Stan Wilcox, Executive Vice President of Regulatory Affairs

Scott Bearby, Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel

Brian Hainline, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

Felicia Martin, Senior Vice President of Inclusion, Education & Community Engagement

Kathleen McNeely, Senior Vice President of Administration and Chief Financial Officer

Cari Van Senus, Senior Vice President of Governance, Policy and Human Resources

Bob Williams, Senior Vice President of Communications

Jon Duncan, Vice President of Enforcement

Kevin Lennon, Vice President of Division I

Terri Steeb Gronau, Vice President of Division II

Louise McCleary, Vice President of Division III

Derrick Crawford, Vice President of Hearing Operations

Board of Governors/Division I Board of Directors

Shane Lyons, West Virginia University, Athletic Director

Sean Buck, U.S. Naval Academy

Kelly Damphousse, Arkansas State University, Chancellor

Randy Woodson, North Carolina State University, Chancellor

Rebecca Blank, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Chancellor

Geoff Mearns, Ball State University, President

Jere Morehead, University of Georgia, President

Linda Livingstone, Baylor University, President

Michael Schill, University of Oregon, President

David Wilson, Morgan State University, President

Philip Oldham, Tennessee Technological University, President

James Harris, University of San Diego, President

John DeGioia, Georgetown University, President

John Fry, Drexel University, President

Jeri Beggs, Illinois State University, FAR

Christopher Pietruszkiewicz, University of Evansville, President

Guy Bailey, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, President

Ken Chenault, General Catalyst

Robert Gates, William & Mary

Troy Hammond, North Central College, President

Grant Hill, Atlanta Hawks

Gayle Hutchinson, California State University, Chico, President

James Schmidt, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Chancellor

Steven Shirley, Minot State University, President

Neal Smatresk, University of North Texas, President

Jim Johnson, Pittsburg State University, AD

Michelle Morgan, John Carroll University, Director of Athletics

Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports

Patrick Chun, Washington State University, AD

Kim Terrell, University of Oregon

Auburn Weisensale, University of Pittsburgh

Pam Hinton-Bruzina, University of Missouri, Columbia

James Houle, The Ohio State University

Luis Feigenbaum, University of Miami

Stephanie Chu, University of Colorado, Boulder

Deena Casiero, University of Connecticut

Buddy Teevens, Dartmouth College

Alan Hirahara, California State University, Sacramento

N. Jeremi Duru, American University

Nadine Mastroleo, Binghamton University

Cody Shimp, St. Bonaventure University

Richard Hendricks, Shorter University

Julie Rochester, Northern Michigan University

Tim Singleton, Wingate University

Wiley Cain, Kentucky Wesleyan College

Douglas Zipp, Ohio Wesleyan University

Michelle Walsh, Vassar College

Nicole Pieart, Lake Forest College

Talia Williams, Carleton College

Bob Colgate, National Federation for State High School Assoc.

Yolanda Malone-Gilbert, Independent

Directors of Athletics

Dave Heeke, University of Arizona

Ray Anderson, Arizona State University

Jim Knowlton, University of California, Berkeley

Martin Jarmond, University of California, Los Angeles

Rick George, University of Colorado

Rob Mullens, University of Oregon

Scott Barnes, Oregon State University

Mike Bohn, University of Southern California

Bernard Muir, Stanford University

Mark Harlan, University of Utah

Jennifer Cohen, University of Washington

Patrick Chun, Washington State University

Scott Stricklin, University of Florida

Josh Brooks, University of Georgia

Mitch Barnhart, University of Kentucky

Desiree Reed-Francois, University of Missouri

Danny White, University of Tennessee

Ray Tanner, University of South Carolina

Candice Storey Lee, Vanderbilt University

Greg Byrne, University of Alabama

Hunter Yurachek, University of Arkansas

Allen Green, Auburn University

Scott Woodward, Louisiana State University

Keith Carter, University of Mississippi

John Cohen, Mississippi State University

Ross Bjork, Texas A&M University

Joe Manhertz, St. Bonaventure University

Gerald Young, Carleton College

Doug Gillin, Appalachian State University

Jared Benko, Georgia Southern University

Charlie Cobb, Georgia State University

Scott McDonald, University of Louisiana Monroe

Joel Erdmann, University of South Alabama

Don Coryell, Texas State University

Brent Jones, Troy University

George Lee, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Tyler Mariucci, California Baptist University

Cindy Goodman, California State University, Bakersfield

Jessica Poole, Chicago State University

Brandon Martin, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Mario Moccia, New Mexico State University

Shaney Fink, Seattle University

Chasse Conque, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Jared Sumsion, Utah Valley University

Brandon Martin, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Mario Moccia, New Mexico State University

Shaney Fink, Seattle University

Chasse Conque, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Jared Sumsion, Utah Valley University

Derrick Gragg, Northwestern University

Mike Bobinski, Purdue University

Chris McInstosh, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Mack Rhoades, Baylor University

Jamie Pollard, Iowa State University

Travis Goff, University of Kansas

Gene Taylor, Kansas State University

Joe Castiglione, University of Oklahoma

Chad Weiberg, Oklahoma State University

Jeremiah Donati, J.D., Texas Christian University

Chris Del Conte, University of Texas at Austin

Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech University

Shane Lyons, West Virginia University

Randale Richmond, Kent State University

David Saylor, Miami University

Julie Cromer, Ohio University

Bob Moosbrugger, Bowling Green State University

Mark Alnutt, University at Buffalo

Charles Guthrie, University of Akron

Sean Frazier, Northern Illinois University

Amy Folan, Central Michigan University

Bryan Blair, University of Toledo

Beth Goetz, Ball State University

Scott Wetherbee, Eastern Michigan University

Dan Bartholomae, Western Michigan University

John Hartwell, Utah State University

Nathan Pine, US Air Force Academy

Jeramiah Dickey, Boise State University

Tom Burman, University of Wyoming

Joe Parker, Colorado State University

Eddie Nunez, University of New Mexico

John Wicker, San Diego State University

Terry Tummy, Fresno State

Stephanie Rempe, University of Nevada

Jeff Konya, San Jose State University

David Matlin, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Erick Harper, UNLV

Chris Kenny, St Michael’s College

Jeff Purinton, Arkansas State University

Matt Hogue, Coastal Carolina University

Bryan Maggard, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Jamie Boggs, Grand Canyon University

Lisa Campos, University of Texas San Antonio

Reprinted with permission from No College Mandates.