The Business of Amateurs: Suffering Student-Athletes and a Thriving NCAA

2 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2016

Date Written: August 26, 2016


The NCAA frequently lauds amateurism and the ideal of the "student athlete." But in contrast to this idyllic conception, college football is big business. And it is built on the backs of gladiators, football (and basketball) players who are often forgotten, disposable cogs in big-time college sports.

Such is the story Bob DeMars masterfully weaves in "The Business of Amateurs." This short essay reviews DeMars's documentary. It contrasts the excesses of college football's gold-plated facilities with players' poverty and health issues, particularly in former athletes suffering from dementia and depression.

In the past few years, stories about student-athletes as impoverished cogs in the NCAA's billion-dollar big business machine have spread. DeMars adds to these stories. And he offers a particularly sobering perspective by focusing on the former players whose lives have been upended — if not ended — by injuries.

Keywords: sports, college, NCAA, football, basketball, amateurism

JEL Classification: L83, Z2, Z20, Z22, Z29

Suggested Citation

Carrier, Michael A., The Business of Amateurs: Suffering Student-Athletes and a Thriving NCAA (August 26, 2016). Available at SSRN:

Michael A. Carrier (Contact Author)

Rutgers Law School ( email )

217 North Fifth Street
Camden, NJ 08102-1203
United States
856-225-6380 (Phone)
856-225-6516 (Fax)

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