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Sidelining Big Business in Intercollegiate Athletics

 |  February 5, 2017

Posted by Social Science Research Network

Sidelining Big Business in Intercollegiate Athletics

By Lora Wuerdeman (University of Mississippi)

Abstract:    The world of intercollegiate sports today is characterized by an insatiable desire for money and winning. Universities are in an arms race to outspend one another on lavish facilities and coaching contracts in order to gain the upper hand in recruitment.

The commercialization of college sports has created tension between the NCAA’s defense of amateurism and antitrust litigation. This Article seeks to provide a way to de-escalate the arms race while also providing a way for the NCAA to reinvest in its principle of amateurism.

Specifically, this Article proposes the NCAA adopt a budgetary allocation for its member institutions’ athletic departments. This Article advocates that funds be split 50/50 between revenue programs and non-revenue programs. This will enable the NCAA and its member institutions to focus on emphasizing education and playing sports for recreation. By adopting a budgetary allocation, the NCAA will be able to balance its goals of supporting education and student athleticism while also remaining antitrust compliant.

Part I of the Article focuses on the intercollegiate athletics arms race problem. Part II discusses how difficult it is to chill the arms race without violating antirust law. Part III lays out the budgetary allocation model. Part IV provides reasons why the proposed budgetary allocation works as a viable method for the NCAA. The section discusses how this Article’s proposal (1) reinforces the application of Title IX; (2) is viable under antitrust law; and (3) alleviates the pressure on the intercollegiate arms race.

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