NCAA – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

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IS the NCAAA a cartel? Do they operate as a free market for the term they coined – student athletes? Have they violated anti-trust laws? Yes and No. They do provide a need and a service as a governing body for college athletics. The issue comes when they say they are judge and executioner. It’s their way or the highway model, that over the years has led to various lawsuits by student athletes in the court system. In the NCAA court of law it’s not your innocent till proven guilty but the opposite way around. If a violation is suspected by the NCAA, the student athlete must sit out games and practices until they can prove their innocence without a doubt. If they play or practice the team would have to forfeit games the student athlete played in during the investigation. Does this sound fair and just?

The definition of student athlete is Student 1st, Athlete 2nd. Those on the outside looking in, the consumer, are ok with this model and buy into the notion of the term the NCAA coined as ‘student athlete.’ Student athletes can receive full scholarship or partial scholarship from college and universities. The student athlete themselves knows a lot different. They can’t make money on their likeness or profit anyway as student athlete, otherwise it’s an NCAA violation. Everything they do is Athlete 1st, including taking class that are per se ‘easier’ ad must fit into that sports schedule and not conflict with practice times or games, etc. The number of hours invested in their particular sport for the most part usually far exceeds the number in the classroom for the semester. Sounds a little unfair or biased.

Can a free market exist where student athletes are paid, going to the highest bidder? As in the real world at your job, the highest performers in their field are usually paid the highest and hold a higher title in their job. Which comes with more responsibility and time spent on or at that job. If student athletes were to get paid the the top 10% to 20% will get 80% to 90% of the share of revenue as in the business world. This is not much different that the current NCAA model. 80/90% of the best athletes go to the top 50 to 75 schools and the top 5/6 major conference. The rest of the schools are left with the lesser talent pool. As in a career or job – you can and would get paid your worth and a free market would set that rate. Similar to the stock market or shares on an exchange. The middle to lower schools will have to pony up a bigger share of money to compete. Not much different that the current system.

If the student athletes are paid, would they not be considered amateurs? Professionals play in olympics sports. Professional sports work as a free market with free agency. Maybe have a cap or salary cap per team or university for spending as they do on the professional level. Others say the product will suffer if we pay student athletes. Not true, as the best will still go to the top schools and if anything competitive balance might improve as they will have more choices, do to financial incentives from all schools. It will not ruin college athletes, you must pony up your share to have your stake in the game. The student should be able to share in the gross profits that the NCAA and schools and athletic departments make off their likeness, tv deals, advertising, tournaments, etc. Would this be considered fair and balanced?

 

Book Recommendation: Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA, by Joe Nocera and Ben Strauss