Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Becker on the NCAA

Delving into sports for a bit...this is a wonderful article by Gary Becker (of my alma mater) regarding the National College Atheletics Association and its competition-limiting activities. A must read for those interested in free markets and how power expands when unchecked.

Full article here.

a snippet:

Unfortunately for the NCAA, the facts are blatantly inconsistent with these defenses. Consider the recent widely publicized violation of NCAA rules by five Ohio State football players and their coach. The players’ “crime” was that they sold some of their football memorabilia, including signed autographs, for modest sums, and for tattoos. The coach’s “crime” was that he failed to report these violations in a timely fashion. All the players involved, which includes the star of the team, and the very respected coach, will have to miss the first 5 games of the 2011 season. This is almost half of the 12 games played during the regular season. Nothing done by the players involved stolen property or anything else that would violate any laws except those imposed on players by the NCAA.

A large fraction of the Division I players in basketball and football, the two big money sports, are recruited from poor families; many of them are African-Americans from inner cities and rural areas. Every restriction on the size of scholarships that can be given to athletes in these sports usually takes money away from poor athletes and their families, and in effect transfers these resources to richer students in the form of lower tuition and cheaper tickets for games.

That players are recruited as students as well as athletes applies to a considerable extent to Stanford, Duke, Notre Dame, and a few other Division I schools that have high academic standards. The NCAA points out that the overall average graduation rate is about the same for student-athletes as it is for other students. That result also applies to African American and Hispanic students. However, the graduation rates for these minority students-athletes are depressingly low. For example, the average graduation rate of Division I African American basketball and football players appears to be less than 50%.

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