For the Issue Brief, Ryan and I will be analyzing the rights (or lack thereof) of athletes playing under the jurisdiction of the NCAA. One thing we aim to not focus on is the question of whether or not college athletes should paid. There are two main reasons for this: first off, the issue is generally overdone and we think the focus should be shifted away from it. Secondly, the debate over this is so polarized that it would be hard to formulate a policy that could be readily agreed upon. Instead, we have chosen to focus our efforts in the area of the rights of the “student-athlete.”
The NCAA, as an organization, has put in place certain rules and regulations that seemingly violate some of the basic rights we, as Americans, cherish so dearly. This would include certain obvious and big violations but potentially also some lesser known ones. One such violation would be forbidding athletes to have a representative voice in the rules they are subject to. Currently, athletes have no voice in NCAA rules and regulations, and efforts by groups of students to form groups to petition this have been quelled. The word that is often associated with these groups is “unions” but we hesitate to use this word due to the connotation it carries. Another obvious example would be the fact that the NCAA does not allow athletes to profit off of their own name or status. This is a point of major contention, as the NCAA and its member schools profit immensely off of the names of their athletes. These rights that the athletes do not have are some of the many basic rights many of us take for granted. Surely the fact that these people are athletes does not make it okay to strip them of these rights.
We plan to delve deep into this topic and make it known exactly what basic rights college athletes do not have. We will develop and present our idea of a solution in the form of amendments to the NCAA bylaws. Our plan to disseminate our proposals will likely change as we move through the project and as we develop a better understanding of how best to make our solutions known; however, as of right now, our main medium will likely be a website detailing our proposals and their impacts.