the BigAmateurism monologues

A series of events over the last 18 months—some unforeseeable—have created a perfect storm that will change college sports forever. The NCAA's bait an…
Mar 30th, 2021 | 1:06:28

10. "Amateurism": The NCAA's Grand Lie

The words “amateur” and “amateurism” flow effortlessly from the mouths of NCAA lawyers and propagandists in litigation and public relations campaigns. But what is amateurism? After nearly 10 years of litigation in O’Bannon and Alston that focused in large measure on answering that lone question, the NCAA has failed to provide a defensible, coherent definition. This episode looks at amateurism through the eyes of the NCAA, sports and civil rights historians, lawyers, federal district and circuit court judges, U.S. Supreme Court justices, and former NCAA president Myles Brand through his conceptualization of the collegiate model. We analyze amateurism both as a free-standing value and as a procompetitive justification in the rule of reason antitrust framework as it relates to alleged consumer demand for amateurism. In the upcoming Alston oral argument, expect to be assaulted by the NCAA’s lawyers’ use of the words amateur and amateurism, but don’t expect them to be able to define it.