Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

NCAA Transfer Rules: Restrictions Created to Benefit Division I-A Institutions and Hinder Student-Athletes?

Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

NCAA Transfer Rules: Restrictions Created to Benefit Division I-A Institutions and Hinder Student-Athletes?

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was initially established in 1906 with the objective of protecting student-athletes due to the increase in deaths and serious injuries they sustained during football contests (NCAA, 2010a). However, the NCAA has expanded its reach and role in the preservation of intercollegiate athletics to "maintain intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of the educational program and the athlete as an integral part of the student body and, by so doing, retain a clear line of demarcation between intercollegiate athletics and professional sports" (NCAA Manual, 2009, p.1). Throughout its history, the NCAA has grown into one of the most successful yet one of the most scrutinized non-profit organizations in the United States because the line of demarcation may not be clear. For instance, Michael Oriard, author of Bowled over: Big-time college football from the sixties to the BCS era, contended that "From the moment that university administrators in the 1890s realized that the new public passion for intercollegiate football provided opportunities for university building, college football has been torn between the competing demands of marketing and educating" (Oriard, 2009, 1-2).

The competing interests associated with NCAA behaviors and activities primarily occurred as a result of commercialization through such sports as men's basketball and football. As an example, the men's basketball spectacle, which includes 68 teams, will produce approximately $771 million annually or $10.8 billion for the period of 2011-2024 (NCAA, 2010b). Meanwhile, the Division I-A or Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) generated roughly $237 million in total bowl revenue for the 2009-2010 bowl season according to the 2009-2010 NCAA Postseason Football Finances Report's (2010c) Summary of Revenue and Expense by Conference. Furthermore, its subsection titled BCS Revenue Distribution also reported that the 24 bowl games played between the 2005/2006 and 2009/2010 bowl seasons produced a total of $717,639,147 million for Division I-A institutions (NCAA, 2010d).

Based on this profit-seeking initiative, the NCAA has been scrutinized for its approach to the governance of intercollegiate athletics and most importantly its control over studentathletes due to this emphasis on revenue generation and the lack of expense control (Martin, 2008). Konsky (2003) and Rosner (2004) further described the NCAA as a cartel because they use rules and regulations to prohibit and control the movement of student-athletes. In their argument, Konsky (2003) and Rosner (2004) noted student-athletes do not share the same freedoms that typical students enjoy on a daily basis because they do not suffer under restrictive measures regarding their choices. Other opponents also criticized and labeled the NCAA as resembling a cartel since the NCAA operates as a commercial organization instead of a non-profit through activity, which regulates the input (i.e., student-athlete movement) and the output (i.e., number of contests and tournaments) to drive up revenues for the privileged (BCS or Bust, 2003; Rosner, 2004; Seifried, 2011; Theime, 2007).

The activity of the NCAA also meets several different points of interest related to the economic definition of a cartel as defined by Humphreys and Ruseski (2010). For instance, the NCAA serves to institutionalize the foundations for cartel activity and control of college athletic competition through conference agreements, which produce a specific product from athletic competitions for consumption. Next, the NCAA membership colludes to restrict or limit increases in allowable compensation to student-athletes despite the significant revenues they produce institutions in sports such as men's basketball and football. Finally, from this perspective, student-athletes are viewed as a commodity to control rather than a person of value to the academic mission to the institution. Examples of this perspective can be seen in the NCAA database as illegal benefits or compensation in some form to student-athletes or associates of student-athletes have been rendered to create competitive advantages for host institutions (NCAA, 2011a). …

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