The recent $8.8 billion extension of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament with TV networks CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting System Inc. illustrates how in recent years the business of college athletics—specifically, of Division I football and men’s basketball programs—has evolved considerably, exploding into a multibillion dollar annual enterprise. There has been no commensurate change, however, in the compensation structure for the college athletes driving these colossal profits; they are still prohibited from being paid under NCAA rules and are compensated solely through the award of athletic scholarships, as has been the case for decades. This article argues that the jurisprudence on the issue of compensating college athletes relies on shaky antitrust arguments, exposing the flaws of each in turn. In light of the increasing likelihood that a court may in the future side with college athletes on the issue of compensation, the NCAA should be proactive and establish compensation structure guidelines for Division I football and men’s basketball programs, which drive the vast majority of college athletic program profits. The author presents a novel model to achieve this goal, the Duke Model, and demonstrates how this performance-based model would be applied in practice, and further elaborates on how the NCAA could utilize its existing infrastructure to take concrete steps towards reversing its ban on the payment of college athletes.
David A. Grenardo & Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law; Antitrust and Trade Regulation; Labor and Employment Law article,
The Duke Model: A Performance-Based Solution for Compensating College Athletes,
83 Brook. L. Rev.
Available at: https://brooklynworks.brooklaw.edu/blr/vol83/iss1/15