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Copyright (c) 1990 Notre Dame Law Review
University of Notre Dame


Sports and Antitrust: Should College Students Be Paid to Play?


65 Notre Dame L. Rev. 206


Lee Goldman *


I. Introduction

Amateur athletics at the major college level is big business. It is marketed, packaged and sold the same way as many other commercial products. Last year's National Collegiate Athletic Association ("NCAA") basketball tournament generated over $ 70 million in gross receipts. 1 Final Four participants received direct payments of over $ 1.3 million. 2 Merely making the tournament earned invited schools almost $ 275,000. 3 Football revenues were similarly lucrative. During the 1988-89 season, bowl games generated $ 66 million, $ 53 million of which was distributed to participating schools. 4 The sale of television and radio rights to regular season games provided additional income to NCAA member schools. A successful college athletic program can also generate substantial indirect revenues. Schools can convert their athletic programs' prestige and notoriety into generous alumni donations and increased enrollment. 5

Nevertheless, the NCAA prohibits payments, beyond educational scholarships and specified expenses, to the athletes who are responsible for producing those revenues. 6 NCAA rules also restrict the ability of college-athletes to earn outside income. 7 Thus, in a study sponsored by the NCAA, football and basketball players reported having less money available after expenses than nonathlete students. 8 Almost fifty-eight percent say the money they have is inadequate. 9 Many students are not even provided the education that is promised them. 10

The NCAA's amateurism rules are ripe for review. It is inequitable that student-athletes, who generate millions of dollars for the university, must scrounge for basic expenses and struggle ...
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