A Sense of Where You Are: A Challenge to the NCAA to Support Appointment of A Blue Ribbon Panel to Propose Fundamental Reform of College Sports

Let’s just lay out a few somewhat random facts:

1. The NCAA is a monopoly in restraint of trade.

2.  Division I College Basketball and Football are Big Businesses.

3.  This hackneyed concept has been and continues to be accepted as true:  That, in the U.S., the two fields of business in which blacks have been successful, and to which they have gained constant entry and admission, have been: a) Entertainment;  and b) Sports.

4.  Despite #3, blacks did not, in the first 70 years of the 20th century, enjoy ready admission to the Money-Making aspects of Sports.  For example, Major League baseball required that all blacks play for paltry sums in the barnstorming Negro Leagues, at least until the ’50’s.  After 1970, because of numerous advances, including Curt Flood’s case, blacks got much greater access to the profits associated with sports businesses.

5.  Blacks now predominate as the successful athletes in college basketball and football.  I don’t think that anyone can disagree with this notion.

6.  Using the standard “Control Test” which is evident in most legal standards, college football and basketball players would ordinarily – absent the special circumstances [see below] which have allowed other developments – be denominated “employees” of their colleges.  This conclusion applies whether in the context of Workers’ Compensation, IRS/tax, Unemployment, Wage and Hour, etc.  The plain truth is that college players perform in a Big Business in an environment where the putative “employer” controls the activities of the putative employee.

7)  The “Special Circumstances” mentioned above are that the standard ticket-buying, cable-package buying college football and basketball customer has the entirely illogical — but customary — habit of calling these college players “amateurs,” and also insisting that they play without the customary employee statutory “protections” (see #6 above) afforded every other person who works for “hire” in the U.S.

Now let’s suggest some simple conclusions derived from those facts:

A) The NCAA Big Sports are now a Big Business

B) There exists a “disparate effect” of the NCAA’s antiquated insistence on “amateur” status for its’ “talent” (the athletes) — and that Disparate Effect is upon one race of such entertainers:  blacks.

C)  The system is broken.

Conclusion:   The University Presidents need to wrest control of the monster which Big Time College Sports have become by agreeing to push for, and appoint, a Blue Ribbon Panel to Propose Fundamental Reform of College Athletics.

About brewonsouthu

lawyer, with interest in college sports and NCAA oversight and decisions, and sports generally.
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