Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The market for college athletes

Putting the Amateur Myth to Rest by Allen L. Sack

"I agree with Brand that the term amateur is not a good fit for modern college sports, but it has definitely not outlived it usefulness for the NCAA. The myth of amateurism shields college sport from tax collectors and members of Congress, seeking unrelated business income taxes, and allows the NCAA to cap athletic subsidies at room, board, tuition and fees. The NCAA will probably play the “amateurism card” to fight a class action lawsuit filed this summer over its use of former athletes’ likenesses to sell licensed products.
So what can the NCAA do to end the pretense that big-time college athletes are amateurs, short of abandoning athletic scholarships or openly turning pro? The first step is to take Brand’s “off the cuff” suggestion seriously and drop the term amateur when referring to scholarship athletes.
The next step would be to adopt a model that continues the practice of awarding athletic scholarships to the nation’s most talented athletes, but eliminates conditions generally associated with employment. Borrowing a term from Myles Brand, I would call this the “collegiate model.”
Under current NCAA rules, athletes who fail to meet athletic expectations can lose their athletic scholarships, i.e., be “fired” at the end of the year, thus transforming athletic scholarships into contracts for hire. And because athletes are subject to their coaches’ control in return for payment of room, board, tuition and fees, they arguably meet common law definitions of employees. The collegiate model, on the other hand, would make satisfactory progress in the classroom the condition for renewing athletic scholarships. "

1 comment:

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