The NCAA, O’Bannon and bang for the buck

I highly recommend reading this series of posts about the larger economic/marketing issues facing college athletics as a result of the O’Bannon case at the Emory Sports Marketing Blog.  The author’s point is that both sides bring a lot to the table, but one side enjoys far more of the feast, so to speak.  And much of that is structural.

NCAA players have few rights and operate under significant constraints.  Scholarships are renewed on a yearly basis so essentially athletes have one year contracts.  In contrast, coaches operate in a free market system and can sell their services to the highest bidder.  Coaches also typically have contracts that continue to pay them even if they are fired.  Transfer rules are particularly one sided.  If an athlete transfers, he must sit out for a season and the school can limit the athlete’s choices.  Coaches can, of course, move on whenever a better opportunity arises (often the new suitor will pay the coaches buyout).  The hypocrisy of these asymmetric rules is dramatically highlighted when NCAA sanctions are levied.  Often the coach, on whose watch the infractions occurred, moves on while players then suffer the consequences.

Make sure you read it all, as he makes good points and asks some very thoughtful questions.  And, boy, if this doesn’t sum up the current state of college athletic economics, I don’t know what does:

My ultimate conclusion is, therefore, that for schools to save their athletic programs it is necessary to remove the profit motivation from the system.  This is, however, different from saying that profits should be removed.  As I see it the main problem is that we have evolved to a system coaches and athletic departments can harness the loyalty of alumni and other fans to make themselves amazingly wealthy.

Greg McGarity wants to know what’s wrong with that.

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3 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

3 responses to “The NCAA, O’Bannon and bang for the buck

  1. Bulldawg165

    Nice find. That article makes a pretty solid point about how, even though a college generates a lot of money from college sports, that revenue isn’t really caused by the current players but instead is caused by the brand recognition and fan loyalty that was developed by many other factors, including players that came before them as well as the academic institution itself. I for one wouldn’t be nearly as big of a uga fan had I not attended the school for my undergrad and grad degrees and I suspect many others feel the same.

    It’s funny when you think about it that way because the football team wasn’t even on my mind when I chose uga as a high school senior. Perhaps the hot ladies on campus should get a share of that revenue. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t have been so inclined to attend uga and thus I wouldn’t be as strong a supporter of uga athletics as I am now. Maybe the party goers deserve a cut as well because that reputation has certainly swayed quite a few 18 year old students as well.

  2. WillTrane

    While we are at this …whatever it is … social justification again in America…hell, let us not keep score in the games … or … have home and visistors side. While they debate that…well, let’s charge the athletes who came in for their skill acquisition and mass marketing on their way to a huge pro contract.

  3. WillTrane

    Go Gator. Oops…go to jail…Pats say you are fired …would UF and Urban done that. Not in an eternity. No who was “unfair” there. Hey Aaron, here is your bill for Urban making you a top flight TE…sorry, wasted it. Victim of the “system”. All about decisions.