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The National Collegiate Athletic Association Compliance

Updated on November 22, 2014

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a non- profit organization with membership of over 1300 firms, institutions, conferences and individuals who are mandated to organize the athletic programs in Universities, and colleges across Canada and U.S. The association’s headquarter is placed at Indianapolis, Indiana. This association was established back in 1906 for the purpose of protecting young people from the exploitive and dangerous sport practice at that time. All members and organizations are expected to adhere to the rules stipulated by the NCAA. A mechanism to implement the NCCAA legislation was created in 1952 after taking into consideration the membership figure. In their first years, College athletes are expected to meet certain conditions. These include those who have already completed school, those who have attained the minimum academic courses, and those who have specific qualifications of ACT, SAT and grade point average (GPA) (NCAA, 2014).

The NCAA is authorized to ban institutions from taking part in a sport if found to have involved itself in egregious misconduct. Members that engage themselves in gross violations during the probationary period are barred from taking part in sport for a period that is specified by NCAA. However, NCAA may opt not to take punitive measures against violating schools, although it must be ready to explain the same. In certain egregious cases of violating rules, coaches, athletic support staff and even athletic directors may be banned from working in any NCAA institution or jurisdiction without being authorized by it. This procedure is regarded as “show cause penalty” and should not be confused with the order to show cause in legal aspects. Consequently, a “show cause” order may result into individuals being blackmailed from being hired for the time of the order duration.

Reactions to NCAA Rules Regarding Pay Disputes for Players

It should be noted that stringent measures by NCCA against paying athletes have not been taken lightly by many players and other concerned parties. In March this year (2014), four players who were represented by Mr. Jeffrey L. Kessler a sports attorney filed a class suit action that was identified as an antitrust lawsuit, which claimed that NCAA and its five major conferences had been an “unlawful cartel”. According to the suit, NCAA relied on the athletic scholarship value, which had “illegally” restrained the earning power of college players while at the same time reaping much money from their efforts. Gabe Feldman, a Tulane University Sports Law Program Director termed the suit a terrible instant credible threat to NCAA. The refusal of NCAA to treat players like workers and to pay them for their efforts has been highly debated in recent perspectives around the global college environment (Dave, 2014, 1).

As a response to this view, the NCAA president has regularly claimed that their approach essentially means a “fundamental change”. He went on to state that their approach was aimed at killing the idea that, in the modern day lucrative sports industry, college athletes perform because they wanted money, or schools sponsor professional athletes for boosting their standing in sports. He also points out that universities and colleges should be focused on educating and not hiring sportsmen in their schools. Instead, they should prepare them and give student athletes a platform to prepare for life activities after college.

Kessler filed a lawsuit in March 17, which sought to challenge NCAA in New Jersey’s federal court. Kessler who was defending Rutgers, Martin Jenkins, Moore, Bill Tyndall, and Kevin Tyndall brought out claims that challenged NCAA rules. Essentially, Kessler’s suit sought to argue that Division I men's basketball players, and FBS football players could be allowed to participate in the professional market for their services. They could be recruited by college teams and in some cases by professional leagues. However, owing to the nature of basketball and football in America, the only available realistic way in which a player could compete against other talents was to restrict himself or herself to the college competition environment. This resulted into the NCAA who was the defendants in this suit to agree although partly, those players should be allowed to receive some pay for playing Division 1 men’s basketball, and FBS football. However, this amount only includes the cost of a full grant in aid scholarships and nothing else despite these players generating much money from their profession. This arrangement has been termed by many as conspiracy to fix the price, which colleges receive for the players services (Chuck, 2014).

With regard to whether college athletes ought to be paid or not, the two mostly used terms are exploitation and amateurism. Both of these subject have been topics of debate since NCAA was established in 1906. Presently, the two words have been driving both sides of the argument on exploiting and paying for the efforts of student athletes. College amateurism refers to the fact that college athletes also identified as student athletes are not remunerated for their sports services. According to NCAA, these individuals are students and cannot be regarded as employees or professionals for their member colleges, or universities. Therefore, their participation in athletics is part of their whole education and as such, they should not be compensated (Meggyesy, 2000).

A major issue on the topic of payment to college athletes has been that NCAA and its member institutions are exploiting the services of student athletes. Various people in differently fields including sports, politics, and economics have regularly defined these exploitations differently. With respect to college athletics, Wertheimer (2007) regards exploitation as an individual acquiring something by taking an unfair advantage of another person. He postulates that the whole issue related to exploitation is not whether individuals are making any gains, but that they are not receiving what they are supposed to receive. Stated differently those being exploited are not dealt with in a fair manner. In relation to student athletes, it is therefore, appropriate to say that the students are not getting proper returns of their financial surplus, which they generate, for their colleges.

NCAA regulations bar the use of a name or picture of an enrolled student athlete in endorsing or promoting a commercial product or service. Requests for commercial appearances in conjunction with a commercial product have to pass approval by the compliance staff. Appearances in commercial promotions, modeling or acting on TV or movies could be regarded an amateurism issue, and ought to be approved by NCAA staff beforehand. Violation of this rule may lead to the loss of eligibility. Seemingly, harmless issues including posing for a calendar may be considered a violation (Samford University 2014).

However, there have been strong criticisms against these requirements with many opponents arguing that student athletes whose names or likenesses are used on jerseys or video games and so on ought to be allowed to sign a contract for the use of their names, photo or images much like professional players. In this way, schools may not be responsible in paying these athletes, though those contracted with outside vendors may partly the profits generated by their images.


NCAA, Universities and colleges should realize that the world has changed. The kind of support system they offer and the kind of decisions they make concerning the welfare of student athletes must first focus on the education part of these individuals. In essence, their responsibility is to ensure that students who participate in sports also get quality education and quality degrees to help them with their future. At the same time, these entities have to come to terms that we do have national competitions, and national sports and therefore, the playing field has to be leveraged across the nation. This means that they ought to design strategies, which will ensure that the students are encouraged to utilize their talents and at the same time be in class to study. It therefore, necessitates removing some strict compliance rules that bars these students from receiving any compensation for their talent and allowing them to receive some payment for their efforts.


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