The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion College coaches are focusing on the wrong issue

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, left, speaks with Alabama head coach Nick Saban before the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship football game in Atlanta on Dec. 4. (Brynn Anderson/AP)
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Jerry Brewer’s June 7 Sports column, “College sports is changing, so the coaches need to adapt,” severely missed the mark. Mr. Brewer urged big-time college sports coaches to adapt to the new order driven by the name, image and likeness (NIL) laws that enable athletes to profit, as well as the new portals that enable athletes to transfer without penalty.

College coaches who represent state schools need to use their voices and actions to amplify their personal values and what they believe in. And perhaps that is what they are doing. They are, after all, paid to win. But Mr. Brewer should have taken them to task for being the public face of schools whose states have laws that give people the right to sue people who help women obtain an abortion and reward them financially for doing so; blame school shootings on mental health issues yet cut the state’s mental health funding; restrict citizens’ ability to vote in the name of election integrity; and refuse to expand Medicaid to help those in need.

One state is close to passing a law that enables anyone to accuse a girl of being transgender and thus require a doctor to prove their biological sex by performing invasive tests. Without speaking out and taking action, these highly paid and very visible state employees tacitly endorse these laws. Collegiate athletes are getting more and more power and will begin to go to schools that better reflect their personal values. If these coaches are worried about the impact of NIL and the transfer portal, they are focused on the wrong issue.

Jeff Ressin, Vienna