Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

The NCAA Death Penalty: A Review of Legal and Business Implications

Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

The NCAA Death Penalty: A Review of Legal and Business Implications

Article excerpt


The NCAA is an organization comprised of 1,281 institutions in the United States and Canada that voluntarily subscribe to membership principles for their intercollegiate athletic program Division I football is divided into the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). It consists of major collegiate athletic powers and is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the NCAA in the United States. Division I schools usually possess larger budgets, more elaborate facilities, and more athletic scholarships than Divisions II and III.

As a regulatory environment, the NCAA is unique in that membership is voluntary. There are, however, two compelling reasons for institutions to participate in a self-induced regulatory environment. The first reason is money. In the NCAA's 2008-09 distribution plan, approximately $20,667,000 was allocated for the enhancement of academic support programs for student-athletes at Division I institutions. This means that each Division I institution received a payment of $62, 438. Further, the basketball fund provides money that is distributed to Division I conferences based on their performance in the Division I Men's Basketball Championship over a six-year rolling period. For example, for the 2008-2009 distribution, the rolling period would be 2003 2008. The total distribution for 2008-09 was $154.7 million (Rosner & Shropshire, 2011).

The second reason for institutions to participate in the NCAA is competition. While NCAA member institutions are permitted to compete against non-member institutions, conference competition consumes most of an institution's schedule. This typically leaves few openings for competitors outside the conference. Therefore, establishing a schedule of competition with reasonable travel expectations, would become nearly impossible. In addition, these spots on the schedule are often occupied by larger institutions who often pay the smaller institution to play at the larger institution. Further, if an institution is not a member of the NCAA, it may not participate in NCAA sponsored championships. This will often make recruitment of student-athletes more difficult.


Regarding regulation, "between 1840 and 1910, there was a movement from loose student control of athletics to faculty oversight, from faculty oversight to the creation of conferences, and ultimately, to the development of a national entity for governance purposes" (Rosner & Shropshire, 2011, p. 480). These changes stemmed from the high number of deaths in injuries in the sport of football.

In 1905, there were 18 deaths and nearly 150 major injuries in intercollegiate football. The issue scored national attention when President Theodore Roosevelt called a conference of the major football programs at the White House. However, deaths and injuries in the sport persisted (Rosner & Shropshire, 2011). The Chancellor of New York University, Henry M. MacCracken, invited presidents of other schools to discuss the reform or abolition of football. Thirteen presidents met and declared their intent to reform the game of football. When the same group met three weeks later, 62 colleges and universities were represented. This group formed the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS). In 1912, the group took the name National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (Masteralexis et al, 1998).

In 1929, The Carnegie Foundation visited 112 colleges and universities and found many academic abuses, recruiting abuses, payments to student-athletes, and commercialization of athletics. The Carnegie reports established that responsibility for college athletics lies with the president and faculty of the institution. Therefore, "the NCAA was pressured to change from an organization responsible for developing playing rules used in competitions to an organization that would oversee academic standards for student-athletes, monitor recruiting activities of coaches and administrators, and establish principles governing amateurism, thus alleviating the paying of student-athletes by alumni and booster groups" (Masteralexis et al, 1998, p. …

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