Only the NCAA can exploit its student-athletes.

This is a 23-year old article in a law journal (h/t) I hadn’t come across before this weekend, but regardless of which side of the student-athlete compensation debate your sympathies fall, it’s worth your attention, because, without descending into loaded language (like “plantations” or “slavery”), it articulates how schools exploit their student-athletes.

No doubt the article shows its age in certain places, but it’s hard — at least it seems that way to me — to deny the power of some of what is argued there.  If you believe the current amateurism-based model fairly compensates student-athletes, there are several arguments made by the authors (for instance, “Non-athlete students are not placed under the same confining restrictions as their athlete counterparts.”) meriting rebuttals that I’ve rarely, if ever, heard.

If nothing else, I don’t see how preventing these kids from marketing themselves to third parties is justified.  Let me know what you think.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

15 responses to “Only the NCAA can exploit its student-athletes.

  1. “[T]he NCAA Constitution is extremely hypocritical.”

    Truer words about intercollegiate athletics have rarely been written. Regardless of the side of the argument you’re on, this article is hard to disagree with. Burn it down, Jeffrey Kessler.

    This kind of research is why you’re the best, Senator.


  2. Chopdawg

    “If an athlete fails to perform and play up to expectations, the scholarship is lost.”–is this true? Will Jacob Eason lose his scholarship if he doesn’t throw for 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns this season?


    • I don’t think the authors were referring to your expectations. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Gaskilldawg

      When the guy published the article all scholarships were one year commitments from the University. The University had the unfettered discretion to renew it from year to year. It could refuse to renew for any reason.

      Now, a University has the option to give a kid a guaranteed 4 year scholarship. Few kids get 4 year scholarships. Maybe Isiah Wilson has a 4 year guarantee, I do not know if Justin Fields wants a 4 year scholarship but I am sure he can get one.

      The vast majority are still on one year scholarships. That is why at Alabama the 3rd string upperclassman gets the advice from Saban that attending and playing for Jacksonville State is better than an education at Alabama.


  3. paul

    Unfortunately, you don’t have to read much further than the first couple of pages.
    “Student participation in intercollegiate athletics is an avocation, and student-athletes should be protected from exploitation by professional and commercial enterprises. However laudable these goals, this definition assumes that NCAA institutions themselves are not commercial enterprises and would not exploit student-athletes. This is a natural, yet incorrect assumption…”
    “Despite the NCAA’s stated purpose, the main goal of many university athletic programs is to generate money … big money. The money generated and the manner in which it is administered, would likely qualify the NCAA itself as one of the commercial enterprises warned of in the NCAA Constitution.”
    I believe that if someone, or some group, were to take the NCAA to court to challenge the concept of amateurism, the whole thing would fall apart pretty quickly. They simply cannot defend themselves.


  4. Normaltown Mike

    I’m disappointed that the authors failed to give this worthy piece an appropriately pithy title.

    Here are some easy ones that spring to mind:
    “Put Me in Coach, I’m Ready to Pay!
    A Plan for Compensating Student Athletes”


    “Win One for the Dollar – A Plan for Compensating Student Athletes”


    “Blue Chips (and Green Pockets) – A Plan for Compensating Student Athletes”


  5. 80dawg

    If boosters/schools were honest/honorable and pre/post signing influence peddling could be prevented, we would not have a competitive advantage procurement problem to manage.


  6. Jason

    I am not saying that the current model is a golden standard. But if we do start paying i want the cost of all of the player only perks to be added in at fair market value for the service rendered and for player only facilities to be open to non athletes


  7. Jason

    That would include the cost of the coaches in training them for potential job opportunities