Title IX and red herrings

Here’s a nice rebuttal (h/t) to Mark Emmert’s hint from the other day that if student-athletes get paid, women’s sports are gonna take a hit.

Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in any federally-funded education setting, has been incredibly beneficial to women’s sports, as it requires schools that receive federal funding to have proportional opportunities for men’s and women’s athletics. Opponents of paying players are quick to stoke the fear that ending amateurism would kill Title IX completely, because a university’s entire athletics department budget would concentrate in men’s basketball and football, leaving zero money and resources for anything else. Alternately, some are concerned that if schools were actually forced to pay male and female athletes equally across the board, athletic departments would go broke, and that all college athletics would die an untimely death.

In other words: the women will ruin everything.

Well, friends, I am here to bust this myth. Supporting women’s sports and paying athletes their fair share are not mutually exclusive; in fact, ending amateurism would be a boost for male and female athletes, from revenue and non-revenue sports.

Ending amateurism would benefit both men and women

Fundamentally, ending amateurism does not mean athletic departments will necessarily write fat checks to their athletes. Rather, the NCAA could adopt an amateurism model, which would allow student-athletes to profit off of their likeness, work with sponsors directly, have an agent, get paid for appearances, and other things the NCAA’s ridiculous bylaws currently prohibit.

The NCAA is going to continue to look more and more unreasonable for refusing to even consider adopting an Olympic model approach to student-athlete compensation.  I don’t think that will end well, either.


Filed under The NCAA

17 responses to “Title IX and red herrings

  1. waterloodawg

    So, when are the swimsuit calendars due out?


  2. 81Dog

    Heres what I don’t understand about the title IX discussion. It seems to require (basically) equal expenditures for women and men, sport to sport. So if you pay male athletes, you’d have to pay female athletes. They train, practice, play just as hard, etc. Same effort, same resources. Ok, Congress decided there is something in the educational experience that requires equal expenditures, but it has zero to do with actual revenue or monetary value created. Right?

    Where I get confused is the pay the players argument seems to be about market value. Market value has zero to do with effort, and everything to do with revenue and profit generated. Otherwise, guys who lay asphalt (high effort) would make more than bank presidents. How does one square what title IX seem story require with pure market value.

    I’m not trolling. I’d really like to know if there is an answer other than “it’s the end of the world” or “it won’t be any problem.” Why will, or won’t, it be an issue if fair market value is the rule?


    • If the NCAA adopted the Olympic model, problem solved. Katie Ledecky can get paid to appear in a Speedo advertisement in a swimming magazine. Valenzuela (the Stanford golfer that contended at the ANA this past weekend) could be in a commercial for Taylor Made with fellow Stanford golfer Tiger Woods. Jake Fromm could get paid to appear at the Bass Pro Shop at Sugarloaf Mills to sign autographs and take pictures. The universities don’t have to pay anything.


    • Biggus Rickus

      Yes, this is why paying players some kind of stipend or salary would be unworkable. The argument here is moving the goalposts, because the Title IX argument deals specifically with those kinds of proposals. I’ve never seen anyone suggest that allowing players to trade on their likenesses (which I support) would have anything to do with Title IX.


      • COA stipend seems to be working out okay.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Biggus Rickus

          For now, as the amounts aren’t particularly large, and the rich schools who offer the larger ones can afford to pay all of the athletes. Smaller schools often don’t offer them to all athletes, and if someone decided to challenge it, they’d lose and have to pay the same thing to everyone, which they can’t afford. It further widens the gulf between power programs and the rest, and once the dollar figures grow, it would only get worse, eventually leading to gross pay disparities within conferences themselves. Assuming you let it operate freely. Maybe that’s good, or maybe it’s not, but it would radically alter the dynamics of Division I-A football.


        • 81Dog

          which has zero to do with “fair market value” for the individual athlete. It’s a number based on cost of attendance, which is basically the same for everyone in a school. It has nothing to do with the “added value” a particular athlete brings to the table. I have no quarrel with the COA stipend, I just want to know how Title IX affects, or doesn’t affect, a FMV approach to paying players.


          • Your comment has zero to do with the statement I was responding to: “Yes, this is why paying players some kind of stipend or salary would be unworkable.”


          • As far as your question goes, here’s what Andy Schwarz said about that:

            Most likely, in my view, the payments contemplated in Judge Wilken’s order will be seen as part-and-parcel of the financial aid offer made to male athletes. (Note that these payments are in no way mandatory; all the order says is that the schools and NCAA cannot collude to cap them below the new levels.) As such, payments will fall under the “substantial proportionality” financial aspect of the Title IX law 1. This element says that whatever your male/female athletic ratio is—itself governed by other aspects of Title IX—the dollar amounts of financial aid need to be paid (in aggregate) in proportion to the ratio of male and female participation. If you school has 55 men and 45 women in sports, 55% (+/- 1%) of the money should flow to men and 45% (+/- 1%) should go to women.

            It sounds like a school would set a budget based on the overall allocation and spend accordingly.


    • 92 grad

      This line of thinking is why I tend to focus on the source of the big money. It’s television. So, make television the employer. We have the sec network, cbs, etc…, they could pay each and every athlete for their air time. Every time the baseball team, volleyball, and every other sport is televised they should compensate the athletes.


      • Cojones

        That would include paying for interviews; paying for replay of a great catch or any play that would leave your mouth agape; as in advertising, pay players anytime a big play is the source of sports news and that’s paid for every time it is played; etc. If TV revenue is used, the payday can get huge for each person and our UGA can “OK” that pay with a small pittance rendered for using our name and uniform. The players and the school, in return, owe nothing to television because TV `will let their advertisers pay.

        Hey, we can return to the old days of having players lounge around a car dealership for pay, push a button each shift start and end for some industry, take the owner’s kids to Disney Land for the day, etc, etc… . Progress.


  3. Macallanlover

    Shifting from the “pay athletes” hysteria, why does no one ever challenge the obvious bias of Title IV requirements? It is, by definition, an unjust law and requirement. You can discriminate until Big Brother says it is OK. It is so illogical to fight discrimination with new discrimination. Give both genders equal treatment for the left over dollars, don’t dig the “cost” hole deeper.

    I feel revenue sports that pay for themselves should stand alone, regardless of the gender of the athletes. Beyond that, the left over money “handed” to other sports should be divided equally to fund sports that involve both males and females. In other words, if you use football dollars to keep Men’s baseball, golf, track, etc., you must spend an equal amount on Women’s softball, track, gymnastics, etc. You don’t use the limited dollars to fund new, non-revenue sports, you take from the non-revenue sports for men and women so they both are treated equally from that pool of excess dollars. Just an opinion on a different aspect of this argument.


  4. FarmerDawg

    The only current conclusions to this drama are the universities stroking large checks, or the NCAA is going to have to give up a lot of control over athletes. I’m guessing the reserve fund would prefer to give up some control.


  5. doofusdawg

    Good news! Saw where Georgetown is going to let it’s graduate students vote to unionize. Anyone who thinks that the long term goal is not to unionize the “unpaid laborers” in college athletics is not paying attention.

    The next problem I see is that some sports and some athletes and by definition… some genders will be more equal than others. But I’m sure the next series of lawsuits will correct those inequalities.

    Beginning to think that unintended consequences is an oxymoron… at least in the legal and political realm. The grievance industry continues to have a bright future.


  6. TimberRidgeDawg

    On the Olympic Model as the commercial vehicle for amateur athletic endorsements, how much of that value comes from the visibility of the platform that athlete performs on? No matter how great Katie Ledecky’s swimming accomplishments, her commercial value comes entirely from being a highly successful Olympic athlete. Her highly NCAA swimming career wouldn’t be a blip on Madison Avenue.

    In that context, what is the commercial value of Todd Gurley in a UGA uniform playing on national television vs Kareem Hunt playing in virtual obscurity at the University of Toledo? Both rushed for over 1300 yards last season in the NFL. They had similar stat lines in college with Gurley certainly the more highly recruited and regarded athlete out of high school. Todd Gurley was a phenomenal player in college and UGA provided him with a national stage to showcase is gifts. I don’t believe there is anything that a small market athlete can do, no matter his numbers, to increase his earning potential if he performs in relative obscurity.

    From a marketing standpoint, given a certain level of success, the visibility of who you play for and where, is going to drive the college athlete’s ability to monetize that success in the Olympic model. So it seems natural to me that the schools that have historical national visibility and large fan bases, especially with access to major media markets would be the natural choices of athletes with eyes on capitalizing on outside endorsement revenue during their collegiate playing careers. Even the backwater P5 schools need not apply, not that they aren’t behind the eight ball already with regards to top athletes.

    I have no problem with athletes profiting off their likeness but it’s foolish to suggest that their likeness isn’t worth more at some places than others.


    • So it seems natural to me that the schools that have historical national visibility and large fan bases, especially with access to major media markets would be the natural choices of athletes with eyes on capitalizing on outside endorsement revenue during their collegiate playing careers.

      So what? And how is that different from the status quo, anyway? All we’re talking about is time frame to capitalize, aren’t we?


  7. 209

    If the NCAA would just make one rule change everything would be fine.
    Rule #1 Million- All Student Athletes own their names and likenesses and may do with them as they please. They may hire a lawyer or agent to help with profiting from their name and likeness. All other NCAA rules and regulations stay exactly as they are now written.
    Now, Nick Chubb could be payed $X dollars by Athens Ford for a billboard with a picture of him saying, “I love Athens Ford”..
    Of course he could not be wearing a UGA uniform or any other School markings, because the Universities will not be involved with Nick selling his picture or name. This would go for ANY student athlete (male, female, horse or fish). No Title Nine problem. The NCAA would probably need to pay some elected positions and receive an Antitrust Exemption to fix all unforeseeable future problems. But I think this would solve the current problems. Simple.
    It might not be FAIR that his picture is worth more at one University than at some other University. But life ain’t fair..