Ralph Nader has set his sites on a new target: college sports. Nader's "League of Fans" group is calling for a ban on college athletic scholarships, as a way to "de-professionalize" school athletic programs. "As we near the exciting conclusion of 'March Madness—which would more accurately be described as the 2011 NCAA Professional Basketball Championships—it's time we step back and finally address the myth of amateurism surrounding big-time college football and basketball," he wrote, in a proposal obtained by the AP.
A spokesman for the NCAA said it was nonsense to label college athletes as pros. "They are students, just like any other student on campus who receives a merit-based scholarship," he said. But Nader is confident he can drum up support for the proposal among parents, on Capitol Hill, and in the Education Department—though he hasn't actually approached any lawmakers yet. "We'll use all the levers," he said. "We'll use the parents of athletes who've been mistreated and sick, and forced to play when they're injured."