Missouri State Rep Withdraws Bill Penalizing Striking Student-Athletes

Missouri Football Boycott

A Missouri state legislator withdrew a proposal on Wednesday to revoke scholarships from student-athletes who refuse to play for political reasons.

The measure came in response to November’s strike by football players at the University of Missouri who demanded the removal of the school’s president as a precondition of them returning to the field. President Tim Wolfe promptly resigned and the players returned to practice days after announcing the boycott.

Representative Rick Brattin’s bill called for revoking the scholarship of any player “who calls, incites, supports or participates in any strike or concerted refusal to play a scheduled game.” It also sought to punish coaches who enable such strikes. University of Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, who subsequently resigned for reasons unrelated to the player boycott, supported his players walking off the field.

“While I am withdrawing the legislation, I hope the conversation will continue so that we can take steps to ensure the University of Missouri is providing a stable, positive learning environment for our young people,” the Republican explained in a statement. “I sincerely believe students should be able to express their viewpoints, but I also believe our flagship state university has to keep and maintain the order that is expected from such an esteemed educational institution.”