Size: 6 x 9
Pages: 354
Illustrations: 18 b&w tables, 8 figures

Business & Economics
Education Policy & History
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The NCAA and the Exploitation of College Profit-Athletes

An Amateurism That Never Was

Richard M. Southall, Mark S. Nagel, Ellen J. Staurowsky, Richard T. Karcher, and Joel G. Maxcy

Published: May 4 2023


Published: May 4 2023


Published: May 4 2023

OA Ebook
Published: May 4 2023


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A well-constructed and reasoned debunking of the mythology of amateurism in for-profit NCAA athletics

For the last 60-plus-years, as the revenue-generating capacity of Power Five football and men's basketball has dramatically increased, NCAA Division I Power Five football and men's basketball players (college profit-athletes) have been economically exploited, their labor has been severely restricted. To mask this inequity, the NCAA and its members created, disseminated, and embedded a fictitious "collegiate model of athletics" established and repeatedly modified for the benefit of member schools, designed to ensure profit-athletes were denied employment status and just compensation for their athletic labor.

The NCAA and the Exploitation of College Profit-Athletes: An Amateurism That Never Was provides a comprehensive historical, sociological, legal, financial, and managerial argument for the reclassification of profit-athletes as employees. Such a reclassification would permit profit-athletes to gain not only fair financial compensation but also equal access to educational benefits that have been promised but systematically denied.

The authors trace how Power Five college sports have morphed into a hyper professionalized and commercialized sport-business enterprise. They provide evidence that at least since 1956 the NCAA's amateurism has been a collusive, exploitative, and racialized "pay for play" scheme that disproportionately affects Black profit-athletes. The authors cut through the institutional doublespeak of approved benefits, cost-of-attendance stipends, or name, image, likeness (NIL) collectives to lay bare the immorality of Power Five college sports.

The NCAA and the Exploitation of College Profit-Athletes makes the case that profit-athletes (and their representatives) must have the right to unionize and freely negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with management (e.g., NCAA, Power Five conferences and athletic departments). In addition, this book offers a forward-thinking structure in which individual labor contracts, or a potential collective bargaining agreement, address profit-athlete compensation and working conditions.

Richard M. Southall is a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, and director of the College Sports Research Institute.

Mark S. Nagel is a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management.

Ellen J. Staurowsky is professor, sports media, at the Roy H. Park School of Communications, Ithaca College.

Richard T. Karcher is associate professor, health promotion and human performance, at Eastern Michigan University.

Joel G. Maxcy is professor and department head of sport business at Drexel University.

"The NCAA and the Exploitation of College Profit-Athletes is a model of scholarly clarity which needs to be read by anyone interested in improving the lives of college athletes. The authors expose the past and present realities of the system and point the way towards a more equitable future."—Jason Stahl, founder and executive director, College Football Players Association

"Thorough, comprehensive, insightful, and moving in explaining the exploitation of major college sports' profit-athletes. The authors have deep knowledge from lengthy and meaningful experience working in and studying college sports. The book is reflective of the substantial research on the dynamic and ever-changing multibillion-dollar business of major college sports. I highly recommend this book for anyone trying to understand where college sports have come from and where they are headed."—Dan Rascher, economist and expert witness in O'Bannon and Alston trials

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