Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Literature Review #2: The NCAA, the College Sports Media, and the University of Miami Scandal

Pictured above is Nevin Shapiro (right) and Miami football player Kellen Winslow, Jr. (left) 

     Mike Milford's article, "Kenneth Burke’s Punitive Priests and the Redeeming Prophets: The NCAA, the College Sports Media, and the University of Miami Scandal", focuses on an interesting theory regarding variables at play in the Nevin Shapiro booster scandal. Burke refers to the priests as the NCAA, or those who create an orientation around a scapegoat. The scapegoat in this instance happened to be Nevin Shapiro and the University of Miami for improperly handling the conduct of its boosters. But the other variable at play in Burke's opinion was the "prophets" who happened to be the sports media. The prophet's main goal here was to shift the attention away from the scapegoat and focus it back on the priests for the "unfair" creation of scapegoating a person or entity. Milford's article delves into the dynamic the priests and prophets created with regard to the Nevin Shapiro scandal and provides an interesting counter-argument against the notion that the scandal solely lied on the University of Miami and Shapiro, when in reality the NCAA was to blame.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Literature Review #1: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad NCAA?



     This article focus on the lawsuit brought against the NCAA by Ed O'Bannon and 19 other student-athletes about the likenesses used in video games and live television broadcasts. Their argument revolved around the fact that the NCAA profited millions and millions of dollars off of using their likenesses, facial features, skin complexity and many other things in licensed video games. These games, such as the "NCAA Football" and "NCAA March Madness" series, saw large revenue streams from this tactic, while the players saw none of the profit in return due to the fact they could not make money while being a student-athlete. Under NCAA non-profit rules, the purpose was to "maintain intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of the educational program and the athlete as an integral part of the student body and, by so doing, retaining] a clear line of demarcation between intercollegiate athletics and professional sports” (Lodge 777). The immense popularity of these video games among America's youth generation (also adolescents and sometimes even adults), gave O'Bannon and the other 19 student-athletes who brought the case to light an extremely valid argument to receiving monetary benefits.
       However, in O'Bannon v. NCAA, the NCAA's "amateurism" argument was its strongest defense. This claim counteracted O'Bannon's challenge of anti-competition by providing that the challenge held a "procompetitive purpose". Lodge wrote, "The most significant endorsement of the NCAA’s amateurism argument—giving it some serious teeth—is the Supreme Court’s decision in NCAA v. Board o f Regents, stating: “It is reasonable to assume that most of the regulatory controls of the NCAA are justifiable means of fostering competition .. . and therefore procompetitive because they enhance public interest in intercollegiate athletics” (Lodge 788).
     The court's final rulings in the O'Bannon v. NCAA trial were in favor of O'Bannon and dealt a blow to the NCAA's amateurism defense-- or did it? In his recommendation, Lodge wrote a very insightful piece by stating, "Although some commentators on the topic are planning the funeral for the NCAA’s definition of amateurism and predicting the “crushing” effect on the NCAA itself, the O ’Bannon decisions offer some support to the NCAA’s desire to protect the commercial exploitation of college athletes through its amateurism model. The O ’Bannon appeallate decision, while highlighting the NCAA’s lack of adherence to its own definition of amateurism historically, refused to cross the line of allowing even minimal payments to student-athletes.143 The most important point to glean from the O ’Bannon decisions as a whole is the decisions only limits the NCAA’s commercial restrictions on players’ NIL compensation up to the full cost of attendance while giving appropriate deference to the Supreme Court’s reasoning that amateurism remains a justifiable procompetitive means" (Lodge 791, 792). All in all, the court's ruling is NOT endorsing the payment of college players, but rather prevents NCAA regulations that limit player compensation in violation of antitrust laws.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Research Blog #4: Research Proposal

Research Proposal

  1. Working Title:
“The NCAA: Every Athlete’s Dream or the Devil in Disguise?”

  1. Topic:
The topic at hand for my research paper is college athletics and how privatization of universities has affected the overall landscape of college sports. College athletics and the NCAA has evolved over time, and I will be aiming to pinpoint how these major “Division 1” institutions concern the modern student-athlete, their recruiting process, and the monetary impact that they have on their school, the NCAA and the sports industry as a whole. With the popularity of college sports growing exponentially, my research will focus on exploiting everything wrong with modern college athletics and the future of the NCAA brand.

  1. Research Question:
How does the overall structure of the NCAA, both internally and externally, influence decisions made by D1 programs?

  1. Theoretical Frame or Approach:
For this research paper, I am trying to understand why the NCAA and its major programs always seem to run into scandals, while none of these instances ever seem to damage the brand. I have followed college sports my entire life, and every year there are scandals on top of scandals involving high-profile coaches, players and programs as a whole. Whether it involves boosters giving money to players, coaches using illegal tactics to recruit “blue-chip” athletes, etc., the NCAA and its programs that bring in the most revenue for both the school and the brand, can not stay away from trouble. Another worrying aspect to all of this is that the NCAA, to this day, still profits off student-athletes who (supposedly) do not see a dime from any of the revenue they themselves create. (Note: I am not arguing about whether or not college athletes should be paid, but rather focusing on how unfair the structure of the NCAA makes it is for them).

  1. Case, Additional Questions, & Research Plan:
Some additional questions of mine include:
-Why is it that unpaid college athletes generate billions in revenue for the NCAA, while ironically earning none for themselves?
-Going forward, what does the future look like for the NCAA, its major D1 programs and their athletes?
A few cases I have looked into involve the University of Miami and the Nevin Shapiro booster scandal in 2011 and the Reggie Bush USC scandal that vacated wins from the 2007-2008 season and forced his resignation of the Heisman trophy he won from accepting gifts from agents while at USC. I feel that both of these scandals relate well to the topic of my research paper. Lastly, my plan for research includes retrieving useful information from both online and academic sources. I now have six “working” bibliographies that I feel will benefit my topic, but I also know that by the end of the research process I’ll have more sources to extract vital information from. Like I stated before, I have always been very passionate about sports in general, so this is a topic that I will enjoy conducting exploratory research on and hope to eventually piece together all the ideas I have regarding the NCAA and its downfalls.

6) Working Bibliographies:
1. Lodge, Alexander. "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad NCAA?...The Ed O'Bannon v. NCAA Decision's Impact on the NCAA's Amateurism Model." Journal of Corporation Law 41.3 (2016): 775-93. Business Source Premier [EBSCO]. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
2. Milford, Mike. "Kenneth Burke's Punitive Priests and the Redeeming Prophets: The NCAA, the College Sports Media, and the University of Miami Scandal." Communication Studies66.1 (2014): 45-62. Scopus. Web.
3. Harris, Jill S. "The Demand for Student-Athlete Labor and the Supply of Violations in the NCAA." Marquette Sports Law Review 26.2 (2016): 411-432.
4. Branch, Taylor. "The Shame of College Sports." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 19 Feb. 2014. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
5. Solman, Paul. "Is the NCAA failing Its College Athletes?" PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, 21 Mar. 2016. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
6. Johnson, StudentNation Greg. "The NCAA Makes Billions and Student Athletes Get None of It." The Nation. N.p., 29 June 2015. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Research Blog #3


My three academic sources include:

1. Lodge, Alexander. "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad NCAA?...The Ed O'Bannon v. NCAA Decision's Impact on the NCAA's Amateurism Model." Journal of Corporation Law 41.3 (2016): 775-93. Business Source Premier [EBSCO]. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
2. Milford, Mike. "Kenneth Burke's Punitive Priests and the Redeeming Prophets: The NCAA, the College Sports Media, and the University of Miami Scandal." Communication Studies66.1 (2014): 45-62. Scopus. Web.
3. Harris, Jill S. "The Demand for Student-Athlete Labor and the Supply of Violations in the NCAA." Marquette Sports Law Review 26.2 (2016): 411-432.


     After conducting some exploratory research, I am hoping that these three academic sources help me achieve my goal for the paper-- that is, finding out exactly how corrupt the NCAA actually is. Whether it's through analyzing how the NCAA manages scandals, why recruiting is so volatile in so many different aspects, how D1 programs handle internal operations, etc., I feel that the academic sources chosen will catapult me towards my research objective. 

Research Blog #2


     After conducting some research into the topic of college sports and privatization, I am aiming at focusing on three areas within the realm of college athletics:
1. How the overall structure of college athletics influences scandalous decisions made by D1 programs
2. Why unpaid college athletes generate billions in revenue for the NCAA, while ironically earning none for themselves
3. What the future looks like for the NCAA, its major D1 programs and their athletes

     After narrowing my initial broad topic down to three main areas of focus for my paper, I have concluded that my research goal will be finding out corrupt the NCAA really is. Through the years there have been numerous amounts of scandalous theories and stories as to why or college athletes should or should not be paid, blue-chip recruits receiving benefits (mainly monetary) in exchange for play, coaches and staff infracting upon program violation, etc. An example of this is highlighted by Taylor Branch, publisher of the article "The Shame of College Sports", when he writes, "Scandal after scandal has rocked college sports. In 2010, the NCAA sanctioned the University of Southern California after determining that star running back Reggie Bush and his family had received “improper benefits” while he played for the Trojans. (Among other charges, Bush and members of his family were alleged to have received free airfare and limousine rides, a car, and a rent-free home in San Diego, from sports agents who wanted Bush as a client.) The Bowl Championship Series stripped USC of its 2004 national title, and Bush returned the Heisman Trophy he had won in 2005." Every year, major D1 programs are being investigated, imposing self-bans on playoffs for "X" amount of years, or getting sanctioned by the NCAA for improper conduct. The list keeps growing year after year. Conducting thorough research on the three main areas of focus that I mentioned earlier in the paragraph is my main concern, hopefully bringing to light the wrongdoings and corruptness of all that comes with college athletics. The NCAA has been under too much scrutiny, especially within the last decade, for me not to uncover hidden, yet eye-opening information that helps support my research focus.

Sources: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/10/the-shame-of-college-sports/308643/
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/is-the-ncaa-failing-its-college-athletes/
https://www.thenation.com/article/ncaa-makes-billions-and-student-athletes-get-none-it/

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Blog #1: Potential Research Topic

The topic that I am most interested in is college athletics and how privatization of universities has affected the overall landscape of college sports. College athletics has evolved immensely over time, and I will be aiming to pinpoint how privatization has concerned the modern "student-athlete", their respective athletic programs (facilities, recruiting, coaching staff, etc.) and the rest of their respective school (students, faculty, alumni, donors, etc.). With the popularity of college sports growing exponentially, what is the outlook for the future of college athletics with institutional privatization at its peak?