National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) grant-in-aid athletes are not currently considered employees. As such, they are not presently afforded protection under worker’s compensation laws and cannot leverage their full bargaining power to protect their economic interests. However, the relationship between student-athletes and their universities clearly meets the requirements of both common law and statutory law tests for an employment relationship. Consequently, Congress should recognize student-athletes as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the NCAA should adopt a new model that includes an athlete compensation plan and optional educational activities. This model will result in athletes who are not only fairly compensated for the risks inherent in their participation in collegiate athletics but also better prepared for their chosen career paths. This model will also allow universities’ resources to be allocated more efficiently in pursuit of the institutions’ core educational purpose. The “cloak of amateurism” must be removed in order for both athletes and universities to most efficiently pursue their interests.
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