Preservation of Amateurism and the Commercial Regulation of NCAA Sports

Thomas A. Baker III

No issue is more important to the multi-billion dollar industry of college athletics than the legal preservation of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) unique form of amateurism. The NCAA’s version of amateurism refers to regulations that restrict student-athlete compensation to the full cost-of-attendance, an amount set by each school that covers tuition, books, room and board, fees, and some miscellaneous cost-of-living expenses. The NCAA and its media partners push the position that amateurism is vital to the continued commercial success of college football and college basketball because consumers would lose interest in those products if athletes were to be compensated with amounts higher than what they are compensated with currently.