Institutionalised Exploitation of U.S. College Basketball and Football Players: A Case for Protection of Employees’ Rights
15 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2014 Last revised: 7 Dec 2014
Date Written: September 1, 2014
This article deals with the institutionalised exploitation of U.S. college basketball and football players competing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) top conferences. It is argued that the pretentious notion of maintaining “amateurism in college sports”, through the prohibition of payments to the athletes and other restrictions on outside compensation, should no longer shroud the commercial nature of this enterprise. What has been created are professional leagues with well-paid and highly expert trainers and managers. This article considers such leagues under Czech and German labour law, with the objective of characterising and highlighting the unjust treatment of the participating athletes. The article is divided into five parts. The first part provides an introduction as well as clarification of the significance of labour and social rights in Europe. The second part describes the concept of a U.S. college athletic scholarship, summarises NCAA rules regarding amateurism and eligibility, and identifies the revenue generated in U.S. college basketball and football. The third part of the paper outlines the standards for determining the meaning of “dependent work” in Czech and German labour law, and then tests the system of NCAA basketball and football under Czech and German labour law. The fourth part concerns the European Convention on Human Rights and its hypothetical implications regarding the treatment of NCAA basketball and football players. The fifth and final part is a brief conclusion.
Keywords: dependent work, employment, amateurism, athletic scholarship, labour rights, exploitation
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