Is It Still “In the Game”, or Has Amateurism Left the Building? NCAA Student-Athletes’ Perceptions of Commercial Activity and Sports Video Games

in Journal of Sport Management
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The NCAA maintains a balance between amateurism and the increasing need for generating revenue. In this balancing act, there are various policy considerations and legal constraints. These legal and policy entanglements bore such class action suits as Keller v. Electronic Arts, National Collegiate Athletic Association, and Collegiate Licensing Company (2009) and O’Bannon v. National Collegiate Athletic Association and Collegiate Licensing Company (2009), which question current revenue generating practices of the NCAA. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of NCAA Division I men’s football and basketball student-athletes toward amateurism and the particular use of student-athletes’ likenesses in college sports video games. Findings point to a lack of clarity and understanding of the agreements and consent forms student-athletes sign annually. Respondents demonstrated confusion in regard to financial aid opportunities, parameters of their scholarships, and whether they endorse commercial products. A majority of respondents expressed the desire to receive additional compensation. Recommendations include clarification and focused rules’ education from compliance and financial aid officers, as well as introducing new amateurism policy, concurrently avoiding costly litigation.

Kaburakis is with the Dept. of Management, John Cook School of Business, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO. Pierce is with the Dept. of Sport Administration, Ball State University, Muncie, IN. Cianfrone is with the Dept. of Sports Administration, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. Paule is with the Dept. of Sport Management, Recreation, and Tourism, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH.