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College Athletics. And the Amateur Ideal. Amateurism & the Olympic Ideal. Ancient Olympics Even central myth hypocritical Winners well rewarded by home cities Modern Olympics & Pierre de Coubertin Anglophile miffed over Franco Prussian War Sought solution in British “public” school

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college athletics

College Athletics

And the Amateur Ideal

amateurism the olympic ideal
Amateurism & the Olympic Ideal
  • Ancient Olympics
    • Even central myth hypocritical
    • Winners well rewarded by home cities
  • Modern Olympics & Pierre de Coubertin
    • Anglophile miffed over Franco Prussian War
    • Sought solution in British “public” school
      • “Mens sana in corpore sano”
    • Amateurism reflects class snobbery
      • Laborers not considered amateurs
american scene
American Scene
  • More combative than British
  • Commercialism & Corruption always present
      • 1st competition: 1852 Harvard v. Yale in crew
        • Sponsored at resort by railroad
      • 2nd competition brought first eligibility scandal
        • Harvard’s coxswain had already graduated!
  • Second sport: Football
    • Rutgers v. Princeton: first academic scandal
      • 4 Rutgers players were flunking math
ncaa as incidental cartel
NCAA as “Incidental Cartel”
  • Restricts movement
    • Prevents “tramp athletes”
      • Students – not hired guns
    • Monopsony power
      • Players have little mobility
      • Drives down pay
  • Stars worth more than tuition
    • In football >$500k/yr
    • In basketball >$800k/yr
athletic scholarships
Athletic Scholarships
  • Now source of great excitement
    • Not always the case
  • NCAA forbade them until 1956
    • NCAA rules often ignored
    • At center of “Seven Sinners”
  • Hoped to to regulate by legalizing
    • Analogous to drugs or prostitution
  • “Student-athlete”: a legal term
    • Scholarships created “pay for play” relationship
    • Prevented workman’s compensation claims
the value of an education
The Value of an Education
  • Cannot equate benefits with tuition
    • Scholarship is value of input – not output
      • Do private schools give more benefits than public?
  • Do athletes get an education?
    • Graduation rates on average the same
    • Rates vary widely
      • Across Schools
      • Across Programs
graduation rates vary by sport and quality
Graduation Rates Vary by Sport and Quality
  • Money sports worse
    • Especially football & men’s basketball
  • Consider 2004 Sweet 16
    • 5 schools had <33% graduation rates
      • But Duke’s grad rate 25 points below all men
    • 12 schools graduated < 50%
    • Three had grad rates >40 points below avg.
      • UConn, GATech, Wake Forest
women do better
Women do Better
  • 9 of Sweet 16 better than best men
    • Stanford & Vanderbilt > 90%
    • Only Purdue <50%
  • Head-to-head with men:
      • Duke: 87% v. 67%
      • Vanderbilt: 92% v. 62%
      • UTexas: 88% v. 38%
      • UConn: 67% v. 27%
  • Comparable to Women as a Whole
blacks do worse
Blacks do Worse
  • Top 5 football programs
    • Grad rates average 43.2%
      • Student body 56.8%
    • For Black players: 39%
      • All blacks 41.4%
  • Data for basketball now suppressed
    • In past has been worst for men’s b’ball
why do some sports do worse
Why do Some Sports do Worse?
  • Some athletes less prepared
    • SATs, HS rank, HS gpa lower
      • True for basketball & - especially – football
      • Not so for softball or golf
  • Is dropping out a rational investment?
    • Go to Florida State to get to NFL?
    • Go to Harvard to become a physicist?
academic standards
Academic Standards
  • Preserve academic integrity
    • Don’t recruit students who cannot read
  • Creates Barrier to entry
    • Established powers keep out new entrants
    • Competitors cannot pay athletes more
    • Now cannot take weaker students either
history of standards
History of Standards
  • Nothing uniform until 1965
    • 1.600 Rule
      • To play needed projected 1.600 gpa
        • Based on complex formula
  • 1973: Replaced 1.600 with 2.00 rule
    • Ostensibly higher standards
    • Actually just needed C+ in any courses
    • Worst abuses came under this rule
      • The sad case of Chris Washburn
proposition 48
Proposition 48
  • Provisions
    • Needed SAT=700 & GPA=2.00 in 11 core courses
    • If not: no scholarship in 1st year & cannot play
  • Was Prop 48 Racist?
    • Disproportionately affected black athletes
      • SATs for blacks average 200 points lower
      • Are SATs a valid instrument?
    • Still – graduation rates rose
  • A concession: Partial Qualifiers
    • Can receive aid if pass one criterion
proposition 42
Proposition 42
  • Meant to eliminate partial qualifiers
  • Again accused of racist impact
  • Loophole restored – and then some
    • Under Prop 48 scholarship “counted”
    • Under 42 doesn’t count against limit
proposition 16
Proposition 16
  • Created sliding scale
  • Clearinghouse evaluated individual courses
    • Understaffing caused embarrassing errors
  • Allows partial qualifiers to practice
  • Challenged in court
    • Students claimed disparate racial impact
      • Won initial case
    • Verdict overturned on technicality
      • NCAA does not disburse federal funds
latest revision
Latest Revision
  • Eases initial restrictions
    • 14 core courses (up from 13)
    • Sliding scale
      • 2.0 core GPA requires 1010 SAT
      • 3.55 core GPA requires 400 SAT
    • No Partial Qualifier status
  • Stiffens progress requirements
    • Need 40% of degree requirement by 3rd year
    • Need 60% of degree requirement by 4th year
    • Need 80 % of degree requirement by 5th year
fear and loathing of new rules
Fear and Loathing of New Rules
  • Coaches fear
    • Players become ineligible in midstream
  • Faculty fear
    • Greater pressure to pass
    • Proliferation of garbage classes
are athletics profitable
Are Athletics Profitable?
  • Most men’s sports are not
    • Only football and basketball make money
    • Only for Division I & IA
  • Almost all women’s sports are not
    • 90% of women’s basketball programs lose $
    • & They are most profitable
how profitable consider the ncaa tournament
How Profitable? Consider the NCAA Tournament
  • NCAA has 11-year, $6 billion contract w/CBS
  • Tourney revenue now $425 million/year
    • $389 M in TV rights
    • $35 M from ticket sales, etc.
    • Was only $1.4 million in 1970
  • ~60% goes to Division I conferences & schools
splitting the pot
Splitting the Pot
  • $105.3 M distributed according to program size
    • Number of sports offered
    • Number of athletes on scholarship.
  • $105.3 distributed according to performance
    • Conference gets 1 "unit" per member game
    • Finals don’t count
    • Each unit worth ~$152,000.
    • Temple did very well this year despite a bad season
  • Payments made six years
    • Each unit will pay ~$912,000 overall
uneven allocation
Uneven Allocation
  • ~60% of the performance distributions in 2003
    • Went to 6 major conferences
      • ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-10, & SEC
    • Big Ten got most: $12.3 million
  • 9 small conferences each got $784,182.
  • Most conferences divide revenue evenly
  • Reformers want to change disbursement criteria
    • Base on graduation rates
but colleges don t make money
But Colleges Don’t Make Money
  • If Michigan cannot profit – who can?
    • Projected $2.05 million deficit in 2000-01
    • Minnesota & Wisconsin hemorrhaging $$
  • Miscounting
    • Benefits understated
      • Increased enrollments - the “Doug Flutie Effect”
    • Costs overstated
      • Opportunity Costs – what does a scholarship cost?
      • Endogenous Expenditure and Bureaucratic Behavior