Case against payment of college athletes

As March Madness draws to a close, we hear again that college student athletes are being unfairly “exploited” by being deprived of a salary for sports. Should NCAA and universities be pressured or forced to change their long-term policy?

This idea, though seemingly intelligent at first glance, is badly misleading. If colleges had to pay athletes, the whole fabric of amateur college sports could be exposed, which could harm the interests of fans, colleges and – most importantly – players. Let’s see why.

The National Collegiate Athletics Association is a non-profit organization that regulates student athletes and organizes athletic programs for member colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. The NCAA “supports more than 480,000 college student athletes who compete annually in college sports.”

In 1984 NCAA v. Board of Regents In its decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the “artificial limit” imposed on the amount of television football games imposed by the NCAA reduced competition and violated the no-confidence law. But at the same time, the court stressed that some other NCAA bans on athletes – including pay bans – were key to preserving college football “products”:

“(NCAA) ‘To protect the character and quality of the product,’ athletes must not be paid, must attend classes and the like. ভাবে Thus, NCAA plays an important role in enabling college football to maintain its character, And enables you to market a product that may otherwise be unavailable. “

The court believed that the popular alternative to Big-Time Pro Sports would lose its luster if it lost its amateur status. But much worse would happen if the NCAA lifted restrictions on the pay of athletes.

Excluding “no pay” rules will support larger, better-funded athletic programs than others, perhaps reducing the already weak competitive balance between schools. Think of an NCAA March Madness tournament where an even-higher percentage of elite players have been snatched by big-name schools, and “Cinderella stories” have disappeared.

This will encourage big college athletic department funds to bid for big-name high school basketball and football superstars, whose presence will attract future profitable contributors to grants, approvals and television contracts. In addition to reducing team solidarity between stars and other players, it could eventually transform college football and basketball into little more than an ugly minor league for their fans.

A small proportion of superstars who will receive a one or two year high salary will make relatively little profit, as they are set for a much larger professional contract in the very near future. Meanwhile, the vast majority of college athletes – who have never been professionals – will eventually lose.

The biggest losers will be the countless scholarship athletes – young men and women alike – who compete in non-revenue-generating sports such as swimming, wrestling, gymnastics, volleyball and track and field, to name a few. These athletes cannot really expect significant salaries.

Worse, large-revenue sports superstars may expect fewer funds and fewer scholarships because of the increased focus on paying. For example, removing the unprofessional will reduce a key element of their college experience.

Adhering to existing NCAA rules will allow many more promising but non-superstar athletes to develop their skills over time without stress in revenue-generating sports, ultimately increasing their ability to compete at the professional level.

In addition, the climate of the current rules already allows many student athletes to obtain approval, and even those who cannot create personal connections that serve well in their professional and personal lives, including connections derived from university popularity. (Think of rich and well-connected alumni who are huge fans of their college athletic program.)

Finally, it is not clear that college athletes, who are compensated with scholarships and living expenses, are materially “waiting” and “exploited.” For example, a large economic study of NCAA rules by economists Richard Mackenzie and Dwight Lee rejected this notion.

The conclusion is clear. The NCAA has reasons to keep rules against paying college athletes. These should be for the good of fans and college athletes.

Reprinted from internal source

Alden Abbott

Alden Abbott is a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He has previously served as General Counsel for the Federal Trade Commission.

Mr. Abbott holds a JD from Harvard Law School and an MA in Economics from Georgetown University.

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