NCAA Mission Statement

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is the largest governing body for collegiate sports in America. They are a multi-billion dollar company and across their three divisions they have 1,117 member colleges and universities (Vcortez, 2018). The NCAA writes and enforces all amateurism rules for the schools that compete under their umbrella. Those amateurism rules include that student athletes enrolled at schools within the NCAA are not allowed to be paid by the institution or endorse products, or they will lose their amateurism status and would no longer be allowed to compete at the collegiate level.

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The NCAA has essentially a monopoly on college athletics in this country. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is the only competing organization that governs collegiate sports. The NAIA only has 251 member colleges and universities so it pales in comparison to the size and scope of the NCAA. Since there is little to no oversight on what the NCAA can do, it has made many unethical choices over the past couple of years.

The NCAA claims its core purpose is “to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount” (NCAA Mission Statement). While maintaining that as their proclaimed core purpose, the NCAA has grown into a multi-billion dollar business and they have made a tremendous amount of money directly off of student athletes that are unable to profit off of their abilities. An example of this is the NCAA Football video game series. They used players’ likenesses, attributes, teams, numbers, and positions to make millions of dollars in sales and the student athletes get no reward other than to play a game that they are in. Another example of the exploitation of college athletes by the NCAA is the shoe and clothing company’s contracts with the schools and the NCAA. The NCAA could easily buy all the clothing and gear its schools would need, but they voluntarily accept the revenue and profit from the shoe companies while using the players to do it (Bilas, 2017).

The main argument the NCAA explains for continuing to not pay student athletes is their payment would distract them from their studies (Hruby, 2018). The NCAA President has been quoted in a federal antitrust case as saying “if an athlete was being paid and it changed significantly their lifestyle, they probably would not be living in a residence hall. They probably would not be eating in the cafeteria, they probably would not be as – as active member or participant in the life of a campus” (Hruby, 2018). On the surface these arguments may make some sense, but if investigated further they really don’t.

Those arguments would hold more water if student athletes were not already spending 40 plus hours a week on their sport. It is already more than a full time job between mandatory practice, meetings, film, treatment for injuries, and travel. Not even to mention all of those things that qualify under each of those categories that are “voluntary”, but can get you kicked off the team if you do not attend.

Not only is the lack of pay for play an issue the NCAA does not want to deal with, the salaries of high profile head coaches and athletic directors as increased exponentially. Head coaches at the top of college football and basketball are getting paid as much as their counterparts in the professional leagues and since the players are not allowed to be paid, they are being paid with the revenue that the players are bringing in (Engel, 2018). That kind of dynamic puts a lot more pressure than there already is on the student athlete directly from their coach. The absorbent salaries also increase the scandals that seem to happen every year. If a coach’s paycheck rides on if they can get the next great high school player the coach will be more motivated to do something illegal to secure the signing of that high school athlete even though it may not be the right school, program, team, or situation for that particular athlete.

Another ethical issue the NCAA has turned a blind eye to is the major lack of medical insurance for its student athletes. They do provide catastrophic injury insurance for any kind of freak accident, but they do not provide any kind of basic insurance for their student athletes (Engel, 2018). Meaning if a student athlete gets hurt or needs to see the doctor the school does not cover anything. The schools even require the student athlete to provide their own insurance (Engel, 2018). The NCAA does not even protect the student athletes that make them so much money.

The NCAA has many ethical issues it has dropped the ball on. I don’t think they will change anytime soon since they are making so much money. The NCAA does not want to start paying athletes because they would have to give up some of their profits. Also if they pay some sports they will have to eventually pay all of them, leading to even more money lost. They do not want to take money out of coach’s pockets to pay players and lastly they do not want to pay for insurance for their money making student athletes since it would affect their bottom line. Looking at their actions over the past couple of years it is evident they put money first on their list of priorities.

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NCAA Mission Statement. (2022, Apr 06). Retrieved November 28, 2022 , from
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