Date of Submission

Fall 2019

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Economics; Africana Studies

Project Advisor 1

Michael Martell

Project Advisor 2

Pavlina Tcherneva

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), which is the governing board for intercollegiate athletics in the United States, earns large amounts of revenue from major college sports like Division I football and men’s basketball but does not provide any compensation beyond basic athletic scholarships to the student-athletes who generate the revenue. In recent years, the NCAA has come under increased scrutiny due to what is perceived as hypocrisy—that is, the NCAA using its student-athletes to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue but refusing to provide fair compensation to the student-athletes. Because a majority of student-athletes on Division I football and men’s basketball teams are black, many scholars have accused the NCAA of implementing racist policies that exploit black student-athletes. This paper provides a critical analysis of the NCAA as a microcosm of American society, including the disparate impact of the NCAA’s amateurism policy and the commercialization of intercollegiate athletics on black student-athletes. Specifically, the paper examines the history of racism and segregation in America and in intercollegiate athletics, the integration of black student-athletes onto college sports teams, discrimination against black student-athletes within sports, the rise of capitalism in intercollegiate sports, the diminishing concept of amateurism, and the role of race in the NCAA’s refusal to pay a fair wage to student-athletes. The paper discusses various theoretical perspectives regarding the exploitation of black student-athletes and offers a proposal for the reform of intercollegiate athletics. The paper concludes that it is hypocritical for the NCAA to use student-athletes to generate billions of dollars in revenue, distribute large proportions of the revenue to everyone but the student-athletes who generate it, and claim “amateurism” as the reason for its refusal to pay fair compensation to student-athletes.

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Open Access

Creative Commons License

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