Chartering the Future of Intercollegiate Athletics at the City University of New York -- A Legal, Ethical, and Financial Case Study
Virginia Sports & Entertainment Law Journal, Forthcoming
46 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 27, 2020
Big-time college basketball once served as an important part of a vibrant student experience at the City University of New York (“CUNY”). However, after an embarrassing point-shaving scandal in the early 1950s, CUNY deemphasized college sports – shifting its focus almost exclusively to academics. While moving away from NCAA Division I sports has allowed CUNY to avoid some of the ethical challenges that other public university systems have faced, CUNY simultaneously has sacrificed a valuable marketing opportunity by not having its college sports teams featured in the national media.
This article explores whether it would be practical for the City University of New York to restore big-time college sports as part of its ongoing rebranding efforts – both in light of the historic role of big-time college basketball as a core part of CUNY’s brand identity, and the changing legal landscape of big-time college sports in the United States. Part one of this article analyzes the history of the City University of New York in terms of both academics and athletics. Part two explores the landscape of college sports in America, including both a discussion of the intercollegiate sports business model and the many ethical concerns associated with this model. Part three considers four strategic alternatives for the future direction of CUNY athletics. Finally, part four concludes by recommending that CUNY break away from the NCAA, and rebuild its big-time college sports program as part of America’s first independent, standalone athletic conference.
While this article is written as a case study about the City University of New York, the legal, ethical and financial issues addressed in this article contribute to the broader discourse of law and education policy as related to the offering of intercollegiate sports in the twenty-first century. Many of the lessons learned from this case study, both legally and from a business ethics perspective, provide important insights into thinking about the future charter of intercollegiate athletics at colleges and university systems throughout the nation.
Keywords: college sports, education, education law, sports law, amateurism, NCAA, CUNY, City University of New York, athletics, fitness, UNESCO, name, image, likeness
JEL Classification: Z1, Z18, Z2, Z20, Z21, Z22, Z28, Z29, I00, I1, I18, I2, I22, I23, I24, I28, I29, K00, K21, K31, K29
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation