Friday, May 1, 2015

Abstract, Bibliography, and Paper Link


The question of how to adequately compensate college athletes has been widely debated over the last decade, with players arguing a switch to a pay for play model while the NCAA is keen on preserving amateurism.  The arguments have escalated and are beginning to cause discontent in college athletics, between most notably the players and the NCAA.  My paper addresses the issue that athletes feel they are being taken advantage of by the NCAA, who is currently earning millions from these players.  Specifically I will be looking at the financial, moral, and academic exploitation of these players by the NCAA and how the NCAA has been able to prolong this exploitation.  I will discuss the idea of amateurism and how this enables the NCAA to continue to exploit players, although they argue it is there to protect them.  I argue that the NCAA is a corrupt body that is currently exploiting athletes, who deserve more compensation than they are now receiving.  In conclusion, this project, by closely examining the financial, academic and moral issues that surround the NCAA, brings to light the exploitation of college athletes and a potential solution to this long debated problem.     

Chavez, Linda. "How Colleges Exploit Athletes." New York Post, 28 Mar. 2014. Web. 03 Mar.

Collinge, Alan Michael.  The Student Loan Scam.  Boston: Beacon Press, 2009.  Print.

Eder, Steve, and Ben Strauss. "Understanding Ed O’Bannon’s Suit Against the N.C.A.A." The

Johnson, Greg. "The NCAA Makes Billions and Student Athletes Get None of It." The NCAA
Makes Billions and Student Athletes Get None of It. The Nation, 9 Apr. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. <>.

Manfred, Tony. "Here Are The Odds That Your Kid Becomes A Professional Athlete (Hint:
They're Small)." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 10 Feb. 2012. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <>.
New, Jake. "Antitrust Loss for NCAA." Federal Judge: NCAA Violates Antitrust Law. Inside
Higher Ed, 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <>.  

O'Shaughnessy, Lynn. "8 Things You Should Know about Sports Scholarships." CBSNews. CBS

Sack, Allen L., and Staurowsky, Ellen J.  College Athletes for Hire: The Evolution and Legacy of
the NCAA’s Amateur Myth.  Westport: Praeger Publishers, 1998.  Print.

Sanderson, Allen R., and John J. Siegfried. "The Case For Paying College Athletes." Journal Of
Economic Perspectives 29.1 (2015): 115-138. Business Source Premier. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.

"Sherman Antitrust Act." Sherman Antitrust Act. Unite States History, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2015.

Sperber, Murray.  Beer and Circus: How Big-Time College Sports is Crippling Undergraduate
Education.  New York: Holt Paperbacks, 2000.  Print.

Tyler, Brown M. "College Athletics Internships: The Case For Academic Credit In College
Athletics." American University Law Review 63.6 (2014): 1855. Publisher Provided Full Text Searching File. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.

"Revenue." NCAA, 22 Nov. 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

Zola, Warren. "NCAA Amateurism Is an Illusion." U.S. News & World Report, 1
Apr. 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. <>.
Paper Link:


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Argument and Counter-Argument

The main argument for my paper is the fact that the NCAA is currently exploiting college athletes on multiple levels and that these players deserve financial compensation for their participation in college sports programs.  The NCAA is currently making billions of dollars per year through these athletic programs and the players who make it happen are getting nothing in return.  The NCAA has instilled the myth of amateurism to the programs which is currently allowing the NCAA to make money off players without having to pay them.  These athletes are not considered employees of the university and as a result they are not forced to pay the players for their participation.  The NCAA is currently making 81% of its revenues from television and marketing rights fees showing its growing dependence on live sports for profits.  These live sports would not be possible without the players and the billions that the NCAA are making from these deals are beginning to resonate amongst the players.  The NCAA argues that they are providing athletes with full scholarships for their participation in sports programs but many athletes do not think this is enough.  The thousands that colleges have to spend to give these athletes full scholarships does not compare to the total amount that they are truly making off of them.  The Ed O'Bannon case is a great representation of the fact that colleges are financially exploiting their athletes and breaking the law while doing so.  Under this court decision, the NCAA was found to be in violation with antitrust laws for curbing financial compensation that athletes receive.  The major factor going into this case was the idea of amateurism that the NCAA has been trying to preserve.  This idea is a myth that has allowed the NCAA to continue to exploit players without repercussions.  The NCAA argues that by preserving amateurism they are protecting the players and are allowing a higher level of competition to be had amongst teams.  This is hardly the case, as this idea of amateurism is what is allowing schools to take advantage of their athletes.  A shift is needed from the current system that the NCAA is operating under and a potential solution would be a free market system.  Under this system players would be able to be fairly valued by schools and in turn earn wages that are on par with what they are giving back to the university.  Athletes are hoping that the system will soon turn towards more of a free market but this is not what the NCAA is hoping for.  The NCAA does not want this shift to a free market as it would cost them millions to compensate the players, a solution given by them would be a program in which players receive academic credits for their participation in sports programs.  This would follow the current system that band and orchestra take at schools in which participates earn academic credits for the "internship."  This is a potential solution but it is one that the players would most likely not be accordance with as they are worried more about financial compensation.  Too much money is currently being made by the NCAA for athletes not to notice and the time is now for change.  What type of change is the real question, whether it we should begin to pay or athletes or not.  Either way it is evident that these athletes deserve more than they are currently making and a solution is needed to fix this problem.     


For my interview I was not able to get into contact with an athlete at Rutgers University but I was able to sit down and talk to my brother, a former Division III runner, who is now participating in a Division I program.  Max Robinson first attended Johns Hopkins University, a Division III program, where he was part of the cross country and track teams.  After graduation, with a year left of eligibility, he went to graduate school at Duke University where he also participated on the cross country and track teams for a year.  Many athletes do not get to see these two different sides of college sports from the aspect of the different divisions that it has to offer.  One thing was clear when he first arrived at Duke University, everything was about the basketball team.  Almost no attention was being paid to him and his team, as all the focus was about the team that brought in the most profits, which was the basketball team.  Last year their men's basketball team brought in about $27 million while all the other sports combined at the university (not including football) only brought in $24.3 million.  This is a staggering number that truly shows the gap between these big time sports and other "intermediate" sports.  The university realizes the profits that the basketball team is bringing in and as a result focuses most of its funding towards them.  So much is being put into these programs but the athletes are not gaining anything in return.  Not only are the lower "intermediate" sports players being neglected but the players of the basketball team also are.  With the $27 million that the basketball team is making, the players are not seeing any of the money.  My brother has multiple friends on the basketball team and he thinks that they should receive compensation for what they are bringing in.  He realizes that his track team is not really making the schools a large profit and so does not think they he should receive this compensation.  The basketball players are the ones that are being exploited on the highest level because of the great profits they are making the school.  The major sports teams deserve compensation for the amount of money they are currently making for schools.         


The chief example that I have chosen to illustrate the mistreatment of players and the overall corruption in the NCAA, is the court case of Ed O'Bannon v. NCAA.  In this case Ed O'Bannon, a former basketball player at UCLA, noticed while playing a video game that a player with his likeness was featured in the game without his consent.  The payer had the same position, body type, skin tone, jersey number, and the same dominant hand as O'Bannon.  After realizing this, O'Bannon decided to file a lawsuit against the NCAA claiming that they were in violation with the Sherman Antitrust Act.  The Sherman Antitrust Act, the first federal antitrust law, authorized federal action against any "combination in the form of trusts or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade."  O'Bannon's goal was that the court would rule that the NCAA cannot prohibit players ability to receive compensation from broadcasts and video games in which they are featured or their likeness is.  They hope that they can prove that the NCAA violated antitrust laws by conspiring with its partners to block college players from receiving compensation for being featured in games and broadcasts.  The NCAA on the other hand did not think they were in violation of these antitrust laws and argued, "that the appeal of college sports lies in amateurism and that if its amateur rules are compromised its future will be jeopardized. Lawyers will contend that N.C.A.A. rules protect competitive balance among schools and conferences and also allow colleges to provide a great deal more scholarships."  The NCAA time and time again has been falling back on this idea of amateurism as to why athletes do not deserve compensation.  They are claiming that they are protecting these athletes under the amateur system but this is only helping them further exploit athletes.  On August 8, 2014 a verdict was reached in which the court found that the NCAA's practice of barring payment to players was in violation of antitrust laws.  Schools would now be allowed to offer full cost-of-attendance scholarships to athletes, covering cost-of-living expenses that were not currently part of NCAA scholarships.  Also it ruled that schools be permitted to place up to $5,000 into a trust for each player per year of eligibility.  This result has been a major step forward for players, the court finally deciding that the NCAA has been exploiting their players for years.  Some argue that the $5,000 given to players after they have already left the university will do little to help them and that this ruling was a step in the right direction but not the final solution to the problem.  "Richard Southall, director of the University of South Carolina's College Sports Research Institute, said the ruling could at least serve as an invitation for athletes to "come to the adult table.""  He stated that after the ruling was made he received a large number of texts from players stating that the decision convinced them that they "actually can stand up" to the NCAA.  A change needs to come from within the NCAA and it is up to players and former players to make sure that this degree of exploitation does not persist.  O'Bannon said in a statement released after the court ruling, ''I just wanted to right a wrong.  It is only fair that your own name, image and likeness belong to you, regardless of your definition of amateurism.''  This case really sheds light on how athletes are being financially exploited by the NCAA and finally the courts are agreeing with them.  This idea of amateurism is what the NCAA is holding onto so tight and in order to progress the system, this title must no longer be given to college athletes.

Works Cited:
Eder, Steve, and Ben Strauss. "Understanding Ed O’Bannon’s Suit Against the N.C.A.A." The New York Times. The New York Times, 09 June 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <>. 

New, Jake. "Antitrust Loss for NCAA." Federal Judge: NCAA Violates Antitrust Law. Inside Higher Ed, 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <>. 

"Sherman Antitrust Act." Sherman Antitrust Act. Unite States History, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2015. <>. 


Monday, April 27, 2015


I think that this graph is a great representation of the flow of revenue that is really going on in the NCAA.  Labelled "All teamwork and no pay," this graph shows the amount of money in billions of dollars that the entire NCAA, NFL, and NBA made in 2012-2013.  The entire NCAA (including all sports) made over $10 billion in revenue, the NFL made about $9 billion, while the NBA generated over $4 billion.  Of the $10 billion that the NCAA made that year, not one dollar was seen by the players.  In contrast to the NFL and NBA where players made almost $4 billion and $2 billion respectively.  The NCAA is currently one of the largest organizations that is making an outrageous amount of money while having to distribute none of it to their players.  Almost half of the revenue made by the NFL and NBA goes right to the salaries of players, the ones that are responsible for making the sport possible.  If these players are making so much for playing these sports, then why aren't our college athletes getting compensated for doing the same thing and bringing in more revenue?  The NCAA right now has a monopoly over its athletes, its ability to price-fix is due to the amateur status of players.  This graph shows just how corrupt the system is and how this idea of amateurism is essentially conning college athletes out of billions.  The NCAA only cares about the potential for profits and in turn is taking advantage of players in order to achieve this goal.  A change is needed in order to end this corruption and start to have college athletes valued fairly and earn appropriate compensation for their participation in sports programs.  

Literature Review #5

 Allen Sanderson

Sanderson, Allen R., and John J. Siegfried. "The Case For Paying College Athletes." Journal Of Economic Perspectives 29.1 (2015): 115-138. Business Source Premier. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.

This is a very interesting article that talks about the rise in the prominence of large-scale commercialized sports programs.  Universities have realized that their athletic programs are a huge source of revenue and in turn more and more importance is being put on these teams.  In particular, schools are making large profits from the rise in broadcast rights fees for live games that are being played.  It is clear that these school are exploiting their players, paying them nothing, while the university makes millions from these games.  The authors make the case that a change is needed to the current system of college athletics, they propose a free market system.  Under this system the schools would compete against each other for the services of high school athletes.  This would bring competition between schools in which each player could now have a fair financial valuation.  This competitive market would allow athletes to be paid and could give a less prestigious recruiting school
an opportunity to sign better players.  They go on to talk about the potential transition costs that would accompany such a drastic change, but acknowledge that a change is needed.

Allen Sanderson is a senior lecturer in economics at UChicago.  He currently teaches a two-quarter sequence in introductory economics, a course on the economics of sports, and has organized a team-taught multidisciplinary course entitled “Sport, Society and Science."  John Siegfried is professor emeritus of economics at Vanderbilt, and secretary treasurer of the American Economic Association.

Key Terms:
Free Market.  In the article the authors propose a potential solution to the monopoly that the NCAA currently has over its players, and that is a competitive free market system.  Under this free market for labor, the schools would compete for the services of high school graduate athletes.  This would result in competitive wages paid to players based on skill level, and a profit loss for the college athletic departments.  These athletic departments currently fix college athletes' wages by considering them "amateurs," this is how they have been able to exploit them for so long.

Explosion of revenue.  There has currently been an explosion of revenues going to NCAA member institutions as a result of large broadcasting contracts with television networks.  A 14-year $10.8 billion contract between the NCAA, CBS Sports, and Turner Broadcasting system was signed to televise the men's basketball tournament from 2011 to 2024.  The only reason that these games can be televised is because of the primary input of the situation, the players and they are seeing none of this money.  Too much profit is now being made by the NCAA and universities for players not to recognize that they are being financially exploited. 

"The rise in broadcast rights fees for college football and basketball games has been the main source of revenue growth of big-time college sports." (119)

"In a free market for labor, universities would compete against each other for the services of new high school graduate athletes.  With many universities and many high school graduates, such a market could be workably competitive." (124)

"One fact seems inescapable: rents are expropriated from the most talented football and men's basketball players in high-profile programs and redistributed to other parties." (129)

This article is important to my argument because it is highlighting the amount of revenue that is being put into the big time college athletic programs, and how much they are really making from this.  The explosion of television broadcasting contracts has brought in billions of dollars for the NCAA and the players can no longer sit idly by.  Too many forces are bringing the issue to light and players have to step up and try to change the system.  A proposed change would be a free market system which would allow schools to compete for players right out of high school.  I think that this is the most logical transition for the NCAA, but one that cannot happen over night. I think this article will support my thesis that athletes are being exploited by the monopoly that is the NCAA and that a change is needed to the system in which players can receive financial compensation.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Literature Review #4


Sperber, Murray.  Beer and Circus: How Big-Time College Sports is Crippling Undergraduate
Education.  New York: Holt Paperbacks, 2000.  Print.

Right now colleges barely care what is actually happening to their athletes on an academic level when they attend the school, but rather just if their athletic program is flourishing.  Right now the only thing schools care about is keeping admission rates high, and to do this they want to keep interest in their sports programs.  The article “Beer and Circus: How Big-Time College Sports is Crippling Undergraduate Education,” by Murray Sperber discusses what is known as the “Flutie Factor.”  The Flutie Factor refers to the idea that students want to attend a school with a large, successful sports program that has the potential for parties and a diverse social life.  In order to make this a reality, schools are pouring millions of dollars into their sports programs in order to attract more students to come to their schools.  Schools are worrying less about the quality of the education that they offer, especially to their athletes and are focusing on keeping their sports teams well funded in order to attract students.  The schools are putting less emphasize on their undergraduate education programs that they offer in hopes to attract more students by increasing funding into their sports programs.  The schools are only trying to make a profit and this article further illustrates this point.

Murray Sperber taught at Indiana University from 1971 to 2004 and is a Professor Emeritus of English and American Studies at the school.  He currently works as a visiting professor in the Cultural Studies of Sport in Education program at the University of California, Berkeley.

Key Terms:
Flutie Factor.  In the article, the author discusses a phenomenon that was come to be known as the Flutie Factor.  This term refers to the last second touchdown pass thrown by Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie to win a nationally televised bowl game.  After this event, admissions to B.C. increased drastically because of the Flutie Factor, in which applications jump in response to victories in nationally televised sporting events.  Schools changed the term in the 1990's to "mission-driven athletics" but still had the idea that they had to increase funding into sports in order to increase admission rates.
Beer and Circus.  In the article the author refers to another term known as beer-and-circus, which refers to the atmosphere at universities with big-time college sports.  Universities put less importance on undergraduate education and more focus on a successful athletic program in hopes to transform the social experience at the school.  The universities want to enhance "the quality of student life", by bringing more of a party attitude with big-time sports in order to make up for the lack of educational opportunities.  

"A surprising result of Flutie's triumph, never previously seen in American higher education, was that applications for admission to BC spurted upward during 1985-86; hence the term "Flutie Factor" for application jumps sparked by nationally televised college sports victories." (61-62)

"In the 1990's, university administrators began to discard the term "Flutie Factor" in favor of "mission-driven athletics"; in other words, no matter how much money the athletic department loses, no matter how much bad publicity the coaches and jocks generate with misconduct and scandals, a school should promote its big-time college sports program as an essential element of its "mission." (62)

"Within this context- the school's neglect of general undergraduate education-Buffalo's move to big-time college sports makes sense.  UB's situation is typical of many universities: because they cannot provide their undergraduates with an adequate education, but they need their tuition dollars,  they hope to improve "the quality of student life" on their campus, in other words, bring on the beer-and-circus." (67-68)

This book has been a great resource that is truly showing how colleges are being motivated in regards to their college athletics programs.  By now it is no secret that the NCAA has been exploiting players and it is clear that major Division I schools are continuing to do the same thing.  These schools do not care about the educational opportunities that they are offering to their students but only care if they are making profits.  The schools are using their sports programs in order to attract other students to come to their school to be part of this great party experience.  What they are failing to tell these students is that the only reason their athletic programs are doing so well is because they are better funded than the educational programs at the school. This book I think ties into the article "Paying for the Party," that we discussed earlier in the semester, in that students are essentially paying universities for the social experience that they get rather than for the academic experience.  I think the "Flutie Factor" is a great term that further illustrates the point that the NCAA and Division I schools are exploiting their athletes in hopes to turn a profit for themselves.