Changes Coming for College Sports

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The antitrust defeat for the NCAA’s “amateur” rules will change college sports for the better, argues economics professor William Anderson in this Martin Center article. 

For one thing, student-athletes will have a chance to earn money from their names, images, and likenesses — enough in some cases to make a big difference in their lives. Anderson writes, “Some athletes who before had to write home for spending money suddenly are going to have a net worth greater than most of their professors (and some of their coaches), and while it is difficult to know exactly how all of this will play out in the future, it is clear that college sports have been greatly changed.”

What about the teams that were part of the NCAA cartel? Anderson analyzes it like other cartels that had to undergo changes once the anti-competitive rules that propped them up were taken away. “With government-sponsored cartels,” he writes, “the stronger firms tend to dominate the organization and set the rules. Dominant football programs in the NCAA for years have ensured that they would stay on top by selective enforcement of the rules, making sure that upstarts cannot advance into the upper echelons.”

Schools that do the best at adapting to the new atmosphere will come out ahead, and those that don’t will fade. It will be interesting to watch this play out.

Anderson also observes that with more money coming in, more student-athletes might stay in college, which might benefit them.