Economic Freedom & Rights

June 21, 2019

The US Supreme Court has established that “separate is not equal” in education.  College athletes should have the same economic freedoms granted to other Americans.   It’s a matter of civil rights.  However, NCAA sports undermines this principle by denying college athletes equal rights with a national player compensation price-fixing scheme.

NCAA sports is on the wrong side of history. Polling shows that 52% of Americans now believe college athletes should be paid, and 64% say they should receive royalties when the college sells merchandise with a player’s name, image, or likeness.  In addition, state and federal legislation to allow college athlete compensation is generating unprecedented bipartisan support.

Read the NCPA’s model legislation that would end the NCAA’s price-fixing scheme and bring economic justice.

False Arguments Against College Athlete Compensation

It Would Ruin Competitive Balance and Harm Smaller Colleges - False

  • The 9th Circuit upheld ruling (O’Bannon v NCAA): NCAA’s limit on compensation does NOT create competitive balance and stated that virtually all economists agree.  The recent Alston v. NCAA case discarded this claim finding the NCAA had no evidence whatsoever.
  • Economic study (by Andy Schwarz):
  • 99.3% of top 100 football recruits between 2002-2011 chose teams in the power conferences
  • Historically, over 90% of football teams that finish in the top 25 rankings and over 90% of the basketball teams that make it to the Final Four are from the power conferences.
  • 2.6% of NCAA schools have won 60% of all men’s basketball championships.
  • Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby” says competitive equity is largely an “illusion”

Compensation Limits Are Necessary to Preserve “Nonrevenue” sports – False

  • If this were true, the 736 athletic programs with 263,000 athletes that operate in NCAA Divisions II & III would not exist
  • These teams are all “nonrevenue”
  • Subsidies from high-revenue football and basketball teams aren’t present
  • Latest FBI investigation revealed “nonrevenue” sports have tremendous value as they generate substantial donation revenue.
  • Exploding revenue has had underwhelming or inverse impact on athlete participation in California
  • Division I revenues increase 290% between 2003-2016 from $219 million/year to $635 million/year (participation actually decreased 11% during this time)
  • Division II revenues increased 635% between 2003-2016 from $17 million/year to $111 million/year (participation only increased 46% during this time)
  • Athletic directors would still have full control of spending, compensation would be optional.

Changing Compensation Rules Would Violate Title IX - False

  • Female athletes would benefit because Title IX would require it.
  • Female athletes have received matching funds for optional player stipends since 2015.

College Athletes Already Get Enough - False

  • Having less than equal civil rights is never enough.
  • Athletes receiving a partial or no athletic scholarship are subject to identical pay prohibitions.

College Sports Are Amateur - False

  • NCAA sports revenue increase from $4 billion in 2003 to $12.6 billion in 2017
  • NCAA is making over $1 billion on its basketball post-season tournament alone
  • UCLA struck $280 million Under Armour deal that requires players to advertise logos on bodies & paid $12 million to buy out coach it fired for poor performance
  • College football coach salaries reached $8 million in 2018
  • Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has a salary of $4.8 million
  • NCAA’s former Executive Director, Walter Byers: “Collegiate amateurism is not a moral issue; it is an economic camouflage for monopoly practice.”