The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has served as a pathway for talented athletes to earn a position within institutions of tertiary education, often providing opportunities for education to athletes emerging from weaker socioeconomic backgrounds. Just recently in 2021, NCAA vs. Alston caused the association to overturn its policy regarding the amateur status of its athletes which barred any current or eventual collegiate athlete from profiting from their name, image, or likeness (NIL).
Despite its production of countless gifted athletes, the legislative approach that the association has taken towards collegiate sports up until now has been widely criticised. Namely, its NIL amateurism rules have continuously been viewed as unjust, many accusing the association of exploiting athletes through this system. Commencing in 1906 (NCAA), amateurism was established as the core foundation of the NCAA, and focused on making the distinction between professional athletes and college athletes. The progression of amateurism within the NCAA persisted when the sanity code was introduced in 1948, emphasising the prohibition of student athletes from receiving any additional financial aid from internal or external parties (Ewart).
While the NCAA induced these regulations under the rationale of promoting fairness, maintaining academic focus, and reducing the chance of schools essentially monopolising the market of college athletes, the adimence of refusing to value its athletes as professionals does anything but value the integrity of sport when profiting off of the labouring hours invested by student athletes.
With the turn of the century, college athletics has been producing more revenue than ever before, yet compensation for the athletes has remained desolate. In 2021 alone, the multibillion dollar industry of college sports generated over 18 billion dollars (ngpf), yet a nickel greater than the cost of attendance could result in immediate elimination of an athlete’s scholarship, regardless of the extent to which the NIL policies have been violated.
In response to NCAA lawyers' request for defence of the association’s policies on amateurism and the overturn of rulings to supplement athletes with post education benefits, several supreme court justices elaborated their opinions on the ethical implications produced through the NCAA’s system of operations. Prominently, Justice Kavanaugh remarked that the business endeavours of the NCAA would be “flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America”, voicing his support of the eradication of the institution’s long standing amateurism legislations. The association had been called out for price fixing, as well as having been met with allegations of remaining NCAA rules standing in violation of antitrust laws, which Justice Kavanaugh has assured would be handled through a legislative approach. (Team)
The future of collegiate sports has already begun its strides of change since the initiation of this rebuttal against the association’s regulations regarding amateurism. Most certainly, it is being hoped that this will invoke the rightful change allowing athletes the ability to profit off of their own achievements and strife. Nevertheless, the extent to which this amendment to the association’s regulations will act as a revolutionary pillar of American athletics, is still very much in question. Depending on whether the congress will proceed to adopt the new legislation into federal law, or if it will remain a matter handled under the jurisdiction of each individual state, currently remains unknown. As college sports emerges into a new era, we can only hope that this exploitation of students in the name of profit may come to an end, and that a new environment of mutual benefit comes into effect.
Ewart, Brian. “History: The Sinful Seven.” VU Hoops, 22 Aug. 2011, www.vuhoops.com/2011/08/22/history-the-sinful-seven#:~:text=Until%201948%2C%20when%20the%20NCAA.
NCAA. “History.” NCAA.org, 2021, www.ncaa.org/sports/2021/5/4/history.aspx.
ngpf. “Question of the Day: How Much Revenue Do College Sports Generate for Athletic Departments Each
Year? - Blog.” Www.ngpf.org, 12 Oct. 2021, www.ngpf.org/blog/question-of-the-day/question-of-the-day-how-much-revenue-do-college-sports-generate-for-athletic-departments-each-year/.
Team, C. B. J. “The Supreme Court and New NIL Legislation Usher in an Era of Change for the NCAA and Student-Athletes.” Crabbe, Brown & James, LLP, 3 Aug. 2021, cbjlawyers.com/ncaa-student-athletes-compensation/#:~:text=Just%20over%20a%20month%20ago.