Debunking the NCAA's Myth that Amateurism Conforms with Antitrust Law: A Legal and Statistical Analysis

35 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2017

See all articles by Thomas Baker

Thomas Baker

University of Georgia

Marc Edelman

City University of New York - Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business; Fordham University School of Law

Nicholas Watanabe

University of South Carolina

Date Written: November 16, 2017

Abstract

This article provides the first detailed study to show that paying college football players does not decrease fan interest in watching college football – thus, substantially debunking the NCAA’s myth that amateurism conforms to the requirements of antitrust law. Part I of this article details the history of collegiate sports in the United States and the NCAA’s amateurism rules. Part II examines the origins and evolution of the NCAA’s procompetitive presumption defense of amateurism; a legal fiction that presumes consumer interest in amateurism justifies a quasi-antitrust exemption for the NCAA’s “no pay” rules. Part III sets the framework for our empirical study by describing how the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning in O’Bannon v. National Collegiate Athletic Association established the need for an economic investigation into the influence of amateurism on consumer demand for the NCAA’s most popular product, college football. Part IV describes the methods used for the empirical examination in this study and analyzes the results. Finally, Part V concludes with a discussion of the implications drawn from the results of our investigation and explains why the findings in our study disprove the presumption that the consumer demand for college football depends on preservation of regulations that limit athlete compensation.

Keywords: amateurism, antitrust law, NCAA, sports law, sports economics, sports statistics, consumer demand, athlete pay, O'Bannon, Jenkins, college sports, higher education, National Collegiate Athletic Association

JEL Classification: K2, K21, K23, L31, L5, L52, L83, I2, I28, I22, I24, C00, C5, L4, L44, L41, L88, J00

Suggested Citation

Baker, Thomas and Edelman, Marc and Watanabe, Nicholas, Debunking the NCAA's Myth that Amateurism Conforms with Antitrust Law: A Legal and Statistical Analysis (November 16, 2017). Forthcoming, Tennessee Law Review, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3072641

Thomas Baker

University of Georgia ( email )

4458 Tacoma Trce.
Suwanee, GA GA 30024
United States
3525148113 (Phone)
3525148113 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://coe.uga.edu/directory/profiles/tab3

Marc Edelman (Contact Author)

City University of New York - Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business ( email )

One Bernard Baruch Way
Box B9-220
New York, NY 10010
United States

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

Nicholas Watanabe

University of South Carolina ( email )

701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

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