Free Play: Unmasking and Ending the Exploitation of NCAA Student Athletes
The current system of collegiate football and basketball in America’s universities is littered with corruption caused by the nationwide popularity of “big time” college sports. The positive effects that student-athlete performance can have on a university leads outside sources to offer benefits to these athletes outside of their athletic scholarships, which is illegal. Talented college athletes are the targets of corrupt agents who offer financial benefits, such as money, cars, or even apartments because of the players’ future professional potential. Repeatedly, the National Collegiate Association of America (NCAA) has penalized players and their teams for infractions committed by either accepting these offers or for allowing these infractions to occur.
Although currently playing professionally in the National Football League, late in 2010 Reggie Bush had to return his Heisman trophy, which is annually awarded to the top college player in the country, for allegedly receiving $290,000 from a sports marketer while playing for the University of Southern California (Hopwood). In the name of preserving the game’s integrity, the NCAA suspended USC from participating in post-season games for two seasons and nullified its National Championship game victory in 2004, but did not require USC to pay back the revenue that Bush generated while playing at their institution (Bryant). Nonetheless, his scandal scenario has played out similarly for numerous other players: current Heisman winner and Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton is under investigation because his dad requested payment for his son’s services at Mississippi State; six Ohio State players were suspended five games for selling their own athletic apparel (Wieberg); current National Basketball Association (NBA) player Derrick Rose, who attended Memphis University for a year, has been accused of having someone else take his SAT for entrance into the University (“Bulls’ Rose says he took SAT”).
One of the main reasons for the NCAA’s founding in 1906 was to protect college sports’ foundational commitment to amateurism. Defined by the NCAA in 1922, an amateur sportsman is “one who engages in sport solely for the physical, mental, or social benefits he derives therefrom, and to whom the sport is nothing more than an avocation” (Sack and Staurowsky 35). In all these cases, the NCAA has busied itself with uncovering the truth to preserve the amateur ideal. How and why are so many high-profile violations of the amateur ideal committed by college football and basketball athletes?
The answer lies in the fact that these players are an essential part of the multi-billion dollar college sport industry, and yet are excluded from its profits. Many of these student-athletes who accept under-the-table deals from sports agents did not come to college to receive an education: they came because there was no other place for them to further their athletic abilities. The NBA and NFL are the only professional sports that require an athlete to be removed from high school (at least one year for the NBA and three years for the NFL) in order to be eligible for the draft, and neither organization offers a “minor league” in which just-graduated athletes can develop their skills. Professional associations in other sports, including golf, baseball, hockey, soccer, and tennis, either allow players to compete professionally when they are 18 years old or do not have a minimum age requirement (Bianchi). Because there is no minor league system in which players can develop, almost all professional prospects in basketball and football are funneled through the NCAA-regulated system of collegiate athletics.
This system is designed not to benefit the student-athlete, but rather to serve the interests of the institutions for which they play and the professional leagues in which they aspire to play. On average, college football and basketball programs generate enough revenue to account for 59% of total revenue generated (including institutional support) by athletic programs, which helps cover the program’s other non-revenue generating sports (Yost 170). The NFL and NCAA claim that the age limit “protects young athletes by shielding them from physical injury and requiring them to mature emotionally and receive an education before entering the world of professional sports” (Bianchi). However, the NBA commissioner admits that the age limit is “a business decision by the NBA”: “We like to see our players in competition after high school” (McMurphy). The funneling of these athletes into the college arena provides the NBA and NFL with a federally funded minor league where they can evaluate potential employees, and the NCAA and its affiliated universities gain “amateurs” with professional capabilities. While these student-athletes are provided with scholarships that cover the expenses associated with college education, their primary focus is attaining success on the athletic fields rather than in the classrooms. “Athletes in the corporate model [of college] are recruited differently, are subsidized differently, and are admitted to college for very different reasons than for other students” (Sack and Saurowsky 5). They help generate revenue for the time they attend the institution and frequently leave before completing their degree, exploited by the NCAA under the false pretense of amateurism.
The NCAA and its affiliates, on the other hand, can be accused as the real perpetrators of moral infractions against its “big-time” athletes. These “amateur student-athletes” are held to professional standards and forced to place their sport before other academic pursuits, while their school benefits financially from their professional abilities. Basketball and football players are essentially funneled into the college realm because of imposed age requirements by their respective professional leagues. This forced “amateur” environment contributes to the large number of infractions committed by professional-ready players.
Instead, I propose a system that will ensure that college athletes at institutions want to grow as students and athletes, by implementing a minor-league for those basketball and football players who would only attend college because it is their only option for developing their athletic skills. For those athletes who attend college to grow academically in addition to athletically, I propose reforms that allow them more time to explore other interests they might have and be given the chance to receive the full college experience their nonathletic counterparts are given.
The pressure for student-athletes to perform at a professional level originates in the desire of the NCAA and other organizations to capitalize on college sports’ appeal to mass culture. Thus it is important to understand the value of sports for both athletes and spectators and to identify the complex ways in which this appeal is utilized to produce large profits. Being a sports fan offers several general benefits. Watching sports, according to Jeffrey Goldstein, “may relieve boredom, relax tension, provide for personal development, increase feelings of camaraderie and community…[and t]his is presumed to enhance the sports fan’s self-esteem” (166). Sports have a more profound appeal to spectators as well. Sports, according to Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, are their most basic form performances based on the values of “agon” (competition) and “arete” (striving for excellence) (86): “Striving for excellence always implies competition…For even if we strive for excellence in absolute solitude, we cannot do so without competing against the performance of (absent) others” (71). The funneling of basketball and football players into college athletic programs before allowing them to head to their respective leagues creates an ideal environment for elite-level competition. This elite competitive environment serves the needs of spectators, who, as Gumbrecht observes, “prefer to watch athletes as they test and push the absolute limits of human performance” (73). In watching these athletic performances, spectators can project themselves into the action, allowing themselves, as Gumbrect puts it, “to to be suddenly, somehow, one with those beautiful and beautifully transfigured bodies” (32). The prospect of this experience arouses serious interest in universities with legendary sports teams, such as University of North Carolina basketball or Notre Dame football. Being able to identify with a prosperous athletic program allows a student, alumnus, or fan to feel associated with part of the school’s storied tradition.
While a fan engrosses his or herself in the athletic beauty of competition, the NCAA and its institutions capitalize financially on these highly commercialized sports’ aesthetic pull. For college basketball’s 68-team postseason tournament, the NCAA recently signed a 14-year television contract with CBS and Turner Sports for $10.8 billion (Wieberg). In fact, college teams’ postseason performances benefit the universities and outside sources as well. In a study by sport economists Baade and Sundberg, it was found that for public universities with a team in the NCAA basketball tournament, alumni donations increased by 34%. Also, for a successful postseason football bowl game, alumni donations increased on average by 54% for both public and private universities (Yost 64-65). Many football bowl games are run as non-profit charities and are sponsored by companies such as the Chick-fil-A bowl and Allstate Sugar bowl, in turn providing those companies with large audiences and profits ($2 million and $11 million respectively) for their bowl games. Despite the non-profit status of these games, “[m]ost bowl presidents/chairmen make more than $200,000 a year and some collect nearly $500,000 annually” (Yost 52, 48-54). In addition to the billion-dollar television deals and millions in advertising produced by these postseason college games, players are also exploited through revenue produced by sales of replica jerseys, video games that use players’ likenesses, and endorsement deals negotiated between universities and companies such as Nike and Adidas (Wieberg; Yost 64,67) “Advertisers,” as Jay Coakley observes in his article “Sports and the Media,” “like to associate their products with valued activities, and sports are highly valued in industrial societies… College and professional teams alike are utilized as symbols in the marketing of products” (163). Thus student-athletes are the backbone that carries the athletic load while many others make money off of their appeal.
The prospect of largely increasing revenue because of mass culture’s fascination with competition has caused colleges to focus on recruiting top-level athletes by offering them financial incentives. This capitalist mindset has replaced the ideology of amateurism on which the NCAA was established with its current form of professionalism. College athletics’ current form of professionalism is clarified by distinguishing the difference between sport for leisure and sport as a form of employment. The determining factor in whether an athlete is amateur or professional depends on whether the sport is pursued for leisure or as a form of employment. Both employment and leisure activities are subjected to constraint, although the constraints differ fundamentally. Constraints on leisure activities are usually normative and according to Allen Sack and Ellen Staurowsky, authors of College Athletes for Hire, refer “to standards and belief systems that have become deeply internalized” and “to those activities that we feel ethically (as opposed to expediently) constrained to do” (4). Employment, however on top of being subjected to normative constraints, is subjected to instrumental constraints, which Sack and Staurowsky describes as, “based on the control of material rewards and resources” where “day-to-day activities are controlled by employers who can impose fines, determine salaries, and ultimately terminate employment” (4). College student-athletes are subjected to instrumental constraint by the existence of athletic scholarships, whereas an athlete’s scholarship and placement at an institution is reliant on their performance and can be terminated at their coach’s discretion. What the public refer to as the “student-athlete”, Phil Hughes, the Associate Athletic Director of Kansas State University (KSU), refers to as the Entertainment Product: “the raw material—the talent—that draws millions of avid fans to collegiate stadiums and arenas across the country every week” (Yost 14). This blunt terminology emphasizes the disposability of players and implicitly recognizes the negative impact of professional sports on its participating athletes. The negative consequences of sport is addressed in Janet Lever’s article, “Sports and Society,” by a theorist group described that views sports and its consequences as harmful to society. The group, named Conflict Theorists, see the impact of professional sports as negative to its participating athletes as well: “commercialized sports reduce players to material commodities exploited by others for the sake of profit, and the pressures to perform take their toll on athletes’ bodies” (Lever 159). College football and basketball athletes are especially itemized: used to profit their institutions, easily replaced if injured or unproductive, and are not able to reap the direct financial benefits of their athletic productivity. This current professional state of college athletics has developed from the NCAA’s original firm stance on amateurism.
College athletes have become professionals by being subjected to the control of their institutions because in order to retain their athletic scholarships, athletes have to perform in their respective athletic arenas. Sack and Staurowsky agree: “Schools that offer athletic scholarships have embraced a form of professionalism, and have made a conscious decision to use paid performers to attract revenue and/or publicity to their schools” (4). According to the official NCAA website, “The NCAA was founded…to protect young people from the dangerous and exploitive athletics practices of the time” (“History,” NCAA.org). Such “exploitative practices” were common in the late 1800s when universities used collegiate sports as a bridge to “link the high culture of the university with the mass culture of the broader society, which, of course, provided both their students and their resources” (Sack and Staurowsky 20). Interestingly, the same problem of athlete exploitation that the NCAA was created to solve is now a primary technique it uses to gain revenue for itself and its affiliate institutions. In 1906, the position the NCAA took on amateurism was unyielding in its stipulation that the “offering of inducement to players to enter colleges or universities because of their athletic abilities or supporting or maintaining players while students on account of their athletic abilities” was illegal (Sack and Staurowsky 33-34). At that time, the NCAA felt that athletes should be selected from those students who were already on campus rather than recruit students by offering them financial incentives (Sack and Staurowsky 33-34).
But during the 20th century, “[which marked] the beginning of the media’s love affair with college sports,” the NCAA slowly shifted to a professional approach (Yost 40). A report by the Carnegie Commission in 1929 explained the negative effects of sports commercialization on the student body as a whole. “[The] primary victim of the commercialization of college athletics was ‘the student-athlete in particular, the diminishing of educational and intellectual values in general. Also, students (including non-athletes) were the losers because they had been denied their rightful involvement in sports” (Yost 40). The report also brought attention to: “(a) the recruitment of players who were weak students, (b) the inordinate time demands placed on training, (c) the special treatment accorded athletes, and (d) the professional coach” (Siegel). Introducing the athletic scholarship to attract elite players has tainted the NCAA’s foundation in amateurism, though rewarding talented student-athletes with full-ride scholarships should not be looked down upon. The fact that these student-athletes are not academically able or allowed to take full advantage of the education they are presented with is the major flaw in the NCAA’s rationale for the athletic scholarship.
The college experience of a student differs extremely from that of a student-athlete, because normal students are not held to the professional standards expected of college athletes. A normal college student goes to class, attends extracurricular activities such as student government or intramural sports, studies, and usually still has time to spend with friends or possibly work a part-time job. Similar to the athletic scholarship a student-athlete is awarded for their athletic ability, a regular student can receive non-athletic scholarships from their university or outside sources in reward for unique or exceptional talents they possess. These scholarships may have general requirements for renewal, but these requirements usually don’t detract much time or concentration from the student’s academic life. However, student-athletes are primarily concerned with two facets of the college experience: attending classes and performing on the athletic fields. Phil Hughes, (Assoc. Athletic Director of KSU) also admits to telling the schools’ potential athletes, “[Being] a student-athlete is like having two full-time jobs…We alert them and their parents to the difficulty in choosing this type of pathway” (York 16). Student-athletes have three to five fewer hours per day to study because of practices and athletic competitions, and when they do get around to studying, they usually are already drained mentally and physically. Unlike their non-athletic counterparts, student-athletes have practically no time to explore or discover any extra-curricular interests and the chances of pursuing their desired degree are lowered. According to a national study by the Center for Athletes’ Rights and Education (CARE), “Some 75 percent of those [student-athletes] who had originally enrolled in professional programs ended up dropping out and taking more manageable majors”; “Others began to do only the minimum to get by” (Sack and Saurowsky 101). A study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) discovered that Division I athletes, compared to students intensely involved in other extracurricular activities, “found that sport participation made it harder to take on leadership responsibility, develop new abilities and skills, and learn about themselves” (Sack and Saurowsky 103). Counter to arguments that apprehend student-athletes for misusing or not appreciating the free education they are given, one might argue instead that student-athletes are not allowed to explore all of the aspects their “free education” should entail because they are prevented from pursuing a normal student lifestyle in or outside of the classroom. The main activity in which athletes participate outside of sports and classroom activities is trips to the numerous to help make up for the limited time they have to study (Yost 16). The need to produce on the athletic field takes priority over the student-athlete’s ability for personal exploration that the undergraduate experience should provide.
The concentration on athletic performance for the institution’s profit rather than the student-athlete’s overall academic experience causes many athletic programs to recruit talented players not well-equipped to succeed academically. This selfish practice is best exemplified in criticism of university recruitment of African-Americans. Many collegiate athletic programs were not racially diverse until the 1970s, when they were forced to integrate due to Civil Rights initiatives. Universities, as Sack and Staurowsky explain it, were “far more concerned with exploiting the athletic talent of the black community than with nurturing its academic potential” (104). Young black children develop deep aspirations for sports because images of successful black figures in the media are usually limited to popular black entertainers and sportsmen and in the black communities athletic achievement is rewarded more than any other activity (Anderson 508). Sport, being focused more on physical and athletic ability rather than academic knowledge or social has lead to “social mobility for immigrants and minority groups who faced discrimination in other sectors of the economy” (Sack and Staurowsky 103). Universities have capitalized on the fact that African-Americans view professional sports as one of their “most achievable goals and quickest path to stardom” (Wiggins 39). Institutions recruit these players to profit from their athletic abilities as the players mainly focus on becoming professional athletes.
The disparity of non-athletic African-Americans on college campuses point to an exploitation of the community members’ athletic ability and a disregard for the nurturing of the general community’s academic potential. Universities used the rhetoric of social justice to explain the recruitment of black athletes, but as Sack and Staurowsky note, “[i]f the influx of black athletes were really a part of a larger effort by universities to increase minority enrollment, one would expect at least as much time and effort to be expended recruiting black non-athletes with academic promise…” (105). The demographics of an athletic team compared to the general student body shows the bias involved in recruiting African-Americans for athletics. In the 1990s, black students made up 7 percent of the total undergraduate student body at NCAA Division I institutions (which is the most competitive collegiate division) while they account for 46 percent of Division I football teams and 60 percent of Division I basketball teams (Yost 169). It has been shown that African-American athletes on average graduate at a higher rate than the general black student population (see appendix A), which may lead to the mistaken belief that athletes are also more prepared for the classroom than their non-athletic counterparts (Siegel). But contrarily, the statistics showing that black athletes at top-tier educational institutions (ie Duke University, Rice University, Stanford University) graduate at lower rates than their schools’ black population (see appendix B) point to the conclusion that these athletes are not recruited with the same academic standards (“The Academic Performance of Black Student-athletes at Highly Ranked Universities” 30). For the general black population, financial concerns are the main cause for dropping out of college, which explains why black athletes largely graduate at higher rates because their education is fully financed by their athletic scholarships (“The Academic Performance of Black Athletes,” 30). What then makes the general statistic of black athletes graduating at higher rates than the general black student body not applicable at top-tier universities? One may conclude that institutions clearly defined by their academic intensity still recruit athletes based on athletic merit more than their ability to compete academically. Compared to African-Americans admitted to elite universities for their academic merit and ability to handle the academic rigor, these athletes cannot keep up academically and is the cause for this reversal of graduation rates at these elite institutions. Although some research may point to African-American athletes being more academically prepared and successful than non-athletic African-American students, the statistics are misleading because financing college is not taken into account.
Although the most visibly apparent in African-American communities, the knowing recruitment of athletes incapable of withstanding a college’s academic load is not limited to the black community. A study by Mellon and Levin has found that many athletes, regardless of race, at Ivy League and other elite institutions have become more isolated from the rest of their campus community: “Student-athletes at these schools are admitted with lower mean grade point averages and test scores and, once in school, perform at a lower level, in relation to their peers…These student-athletes concentrate almost exclusively on their sports and do not take advantage of the full range of activities offered by the elite campuses” (“The Academic Performance of Black Athletes,” 31). In fact, in the “high-pressure” and large revenue producing sports of Division I football and basketball, these teams exhibit the lowest graduation rates of all white and black athletes (Sack and Saurowsky 105). Black and non-black athletes at elite institutions clearly illustrate the lower standards most institutions use to admit them, thus taking advantage of their athletic talent while these students are unable to take advantage of the academic experience on offer.
Many proposals for reform of college athletics focus on returning to the “amateur” ideal by taking away athletic scholarships. Others suggest the creation of a new separate collegiate division for “big-time” basketball and football programs (such as Notre Dame, University of North Carolina, USC) to be run as professional teams that could be financially self-supporting. This proposal will focus on creating competitive atmospheres that benefit the physical, academic, and financial interests of all affected athletes. The term “amateur” will not be applicable in its historic sense, because scholarships will not be eliminated. Like students who receive scholarships for special interests or talents that they have, athletes should still be allowed to receive a scholarship for the physical talent that they possess. Student-athletes bring different skill sets, just like nonathletic students, that help to foster a diverse student body. The main issue that my reform will address is the creation of an athletics system that allows student-athletes to be on campus for both their sports and educational experiences. As a result, they will have more time to pursue their extracurricular interests. To achieve this balance of academics and athletics, reform should address the issue of the bottleneck that the collegiate level of basketball and football has become for entry into their respective professional leagues.
The first area of reform addresses the funneling of professional-ready basketball and football athletes who have no interest in college life into universities. A small minor league should be created for football, and the organization of the NBA’s existing minor league should be revamped. This will not encroach on age restrictions set by the NBA or NFL, but will rely somewhat on these professional organizations for the funding of these minor-league teams. By offering another outlet for physical and athletic development, athletes who are ready for professional levels of competition and want to be directly financially compensated can compete here instead of in the collegiate levels. These minor leagues would be run similar to minor-league baseball teams. Baseball offers a minor league (referred to as a “farm system”) in addition to the college levels of baseball. These minor-league teams allow 18-year olds to try out for a team that is sponsored financially by one of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) professional teams. These young players are paid a small salary and get to practice against others of similar skill and improve their ability until they are offered a spot on the MLB team (“How Minor League Baseball Teams Work”). Unlike college athletes, minor-league players are compensated for their athletic performance and contributions to teams, while bettering themselves in hopes of one day playing professionally. There exists no option for football players besides the NCAA that merits a good chance for entry to the NFL. As Greg Bianchi, author of “Age Requirement in Professional Sport,” plainly articulates, “A football player shut out of the NCAA and NFL is effectively prevented from pursuing a career as a professional football player.” The lack of a minor league causes many elite athletes in the college atmosphere to focus on their professional ambitions at the expense of academics.
Through the creation of a small football minor league, players who want to focus on developing only their physical talent have an atmosphere in which to do so. Presently, it is the extremely talented players who are likely to be offered illegal benefits by agents and, upon acceptance, have their reputations tarnished by the NCAA. By creating the minor league, these players can profit from their own talents and bypass the NCAA system that ensures that the NCAA are the only profiteers from its players’ talents. Current alternatives to college for basketball players include the NBA Developmental League (NBADL), the NBA’s own version of a minor league. There is also he option of playing overseas in an international league for a year before returning to try and play in the NBA. Unfortunately most players don’t even consider playing in the NBADL, which does employ 18-year olds, because the league doesn’t pay as highly (salaries start at $12,000 for NBADL compared $100,000 in foreign leagues), doesn’t allow for the same amounts of exposure, and has a bad reputation amongst players. Former NBA player Charles Barkley describes players in NBADL as, “just a bunch of guys who don’t want to get a damn job” (Budraitis). According to nba.com, NBA teams have started sponsoring NBADL teams similar to the process of the minor-league baseball system (“NBA D-League Announces Affiliates For 2010-11 Season”). But to increase interest in players graduating from high school, NBADL teams should offer salaries comparable to college tuitions. If the minor-league system is adopted for football and improved upon for basketball, players who have little interest or ability in performing well academically in college will have an alternate route for a possible professional career. The creation of effective minor leagues would help to lessen college sports’ “proving ground” atmosphere for professional talented athletes and foster a setting of intellectual and physical growth.
After providing an outlet for athletes who are strictly focused on maturing their physical state and skills, reform should address the overall college experience of student-athletes. Athletes who choose to attend college and engage in collegiate competition instead of jumping directly to the minor-leagues (including other sports with similar options such as baseball, hockey, or golf) should be allowed the opportunity to explore personal interests, engage in on-campus groups, or have time to relax similar to other non-athletic students. These athletes are students first, and by choosing to attend college they show at least a small desire to participate in, as Sack and Staurowsky put it, the “personal growth and self-discovery that an undergraduate education is supposed to encourage” (103). As mentioned earlier, athletes usually have three to five fewer hours per day compared to their peers to study or engage in other activities, which translates to approximately 18-30 less hours a week. To compensate for this, student-athletes should be required to enroll in 2-3 summer courses and consequently enroll in fewer credit hours during the school year. As stated by current Stanford football player Cleo Robinson, “the more time [we] get, the better…[this] would provide for more personal time for ourselves resulting in more free time to use discretionally.” Referred to as the “gold standard when it comes to balancing athletics and academics” by Mark Yost author of Varsity Green, Yost discloses that Notre Dame offers summer school classes to help their student-athletes “get up to speed before the start of their freshman year” (23, 24). More generally, summer school attendance is a requirement for all of Notre Dame’s pre-med students and others in challenging disciplines of study (Yost 24). All student-athletes would benefit from taking summer courses, especially since many college teams hold practice during the extended break. In this way, athletes will be able to dedicate the same amount of time to their sport while having more free time to study more, explore extra-curricular interests, or build stronger relationships with their peers. The creation of both minor leagues as an alternative option for young athletes uninterested in college and a summer curriculum for student-athletes would benefit both of their respective interests while minimally altering their role as athletes.
While my proposed reforms focus on benefitting athletes, the NCAA and its institutions may express concern about what the dilution of their “big-time” talent pool will do to the revenue produced by these commercialized sports. The implementation of a minor-league for football and the increased appeal of the NBADL would probably lead to the dispersion of many elite-level athletes into those respective domains, which may cause a decrease of revenue in college programs. The NCAA, universities, and some critics would point to the fact that most college athletics programs operate in a deficit. These financial statistics can be found in accessible media articles, such as a recent piece in USA Today written by Steve Wieberg, which states: “Most major-college athletics programs aren't piling up money. Only 14 were operating in the black last year.” From a study taken in 2003, the average Division I program lost $600,000 (Yost 170). But what people fail to realize is that colleges and universities are not-for-profit entities and cannot legally claim a profit. In the book The NCAA: A Study in Cartel Behavior that provides an economist’s take on NCAA financial operations, it is pointed out that “in most nonprofit settings, reported costs tend to rise to equal or exceed revenues” (Fleisher, Goff, and Tollison 87). Since they cannot use excess money, universities may funnel predicted surpluses into projects that they can tab as expenditures, such as building state-of-the-art athletic offices. Meanwhile universities will allocate vague sources of income, for example food concessions at stadiums or booster giving, into the universities’ food services unit or more general funds (Fleisher, Goff, and Tollison 87-89). In a study by economists in the 1980’s, after allocating an unspecified athletic program’s funds correctly, it was found that they turned a profit of $300,000 instead of their reported $800,000 loss (Fleisher, Goff, Tollision 89). Although, the dilution of talent at the collegiate level may cause some loss of revenue, universities in actuality will not lose as much money as claimed because of their current techniques for pretending not to turn a profit.
Ultimately, no side affected by the reform will suffer financial or moral losses. Graduating high-school athletes will have the opportunity to freely pursue their interests or aspirations: whether jumping straight into employment with a minor-league team or enrolling in college to focus on developing their academic and physical beings. The dilution of talent at the college level will not necessarily result in losses for athletic programs because the current form of documenting funds focuses on maintaining the illusion that athletic programs do not produce profits. College athletics will always produce revenue because of the transcendent aesthetic appeal of sports. The only difference will be allowing young athletes more freedom in their post-high school endeavors. With these reforms, the NCAA and its institutions will fulfill their ethical obligations to student-athletes, providing them the opportunity to explore the college experience with which their scholarship rewards them.
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