Is Amateurism Really Necessary or Is It an Illusion Supporting the NCAA’s Anticompetitive Behaviors?

The Need for Preserving Amateurism in College Athletics

Since the inception of the NCAA, amateurism has been the bedrock principle of college athletics, which means that athletes are students pursuing an education first. Over time, the nature of collegiate athletics has changed dramatically; it has gone from a side activity to a multi-billion-dollar industry. The foundational principle of amateurism still remains; however, it is on rocky grounds, and changes in the culture surrounding collegiate athletics has threatened its continued existence. The NCAA relies on the concept of amateurism to justify its seemingly anticompetitive behaviors and this puts universities in a precarious position where they must strike a balance between preserving amateurism and ensuring the fair treatment of student-athletes.

With this in mind, this Note proposes two solutions. First, this Note argues that the NCAA should be awarded a partial antitrust exemption. This will be instrumental in protecting amateurism in college athletics. Second, this Note argues that Congress should establish a Committee to oversee the NCAA’s actions. The NCAA would need oversight to ensure they do not abuse their exemption by overreaching or using questionable tactics. With this two-prong approach, the NCAA will be able to preserve amateurism while still being held accountable for protecting student-athletes’ rights.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.