“Amateur competition is a bedrock principle of college athletics and the NCAA. Maintaining amateurism is crucial to preserving an academic environment in which acquiring a quality education is the first priority.” The NCAA, or the National Collegiate Athletic Association, has long used the concept of “amateurism” as its reason for not compensating college athletes. It claims that college athletes are students first and athletes second, and that compensating the athletes would prohibit them from “obtaining a quality educational experience.” However, in recent years there has been much debate about the validity of this claim and whether or not amateurism is truly in the best interest of the students and not the schools they attend.
In short, amateurism allows schools to pay their student athletes in the form of tuition, books, and room and board fees, which essentially is a price-fixing agreement. Last April, four athletes filed a lawsuit against the NCAA and the attorney representing them claimed that schools are generating “billions of dollars in revenues each year through the hard work, sweat and sometimes broken bodies of top-tier college football and men’s basketball athletes.” Many argue that college football and basketball are already pro sports for everyone but the athletes. By restricting labor costs, universities are able to reap the benefits of a massive market without having to pay the normal associated costs.
Another issue here is that the athletes have no bargaining power. Many of them are simply grateful for being provided such an “opportunity.” So, is amateurism a valid principle in the world of college athletics, or is it in reality a lie told by universities to control their athletes and exploit them?