The NCAA has pulled out the big guns to battle a lawsuit by former athletes looking to share in the revenue earned from all television broadcasts and the use of their likenesses in video games and by media companies.
Last month, the former athletes celebrated a victory when Judge Claudia Wilken dismissed a motion that would prevent them from proceeding with their case. In rebuttal, the NCAA filed documents in federal court stating that if the amateurism rules were reversed some institutions might exit Division 1 or Bowl football due to the added strain associated with sharing revenue with football and men’s basketball players.
As reported by USA Today, the filing included statements from numerous conference and university executives.
Wake Forest “might cease playing Division I or Football Bowl Subdivision sports entirely if pay-for-play became a reality,” says a statement from university president Nathan Hatch.
“Instituting a pay-for-play model, even if the payments are deferred to after graduation would change the nature of the relationship Wake Forest has with its football and men’s basketball student-athletes. It would, essentially, turn those teams into professional squads. That would not be acceptable to Wake Forest.”
Also included in the bunch was a statement from The University of Texas’ athletics director DeLoss Dodds, an athletic department that generated $163.3 Million in revenue in 2011-2012
Texas “has no interest in a model that would force us to professionalize two sports to the detriment of the balance of the athletics department’s sports, fitness and educational programs,” says a statement from Texas athletics director DeLoss Dodds and Texas women’s athletics director Christine Plonsky.
CSU chancellor Timothy White also stated that a change like this might be discriminatory.
“Paying male athletes for their participation in sports would seriously undermine the objectives of Title IX and CSU’s ability to remain in Title IX compliance.”
The NCAA’s filing is a 2,100 page document filled with exhibits, expert reports, and university statements arguing how paying players that generate millions of revenue would cause such a great financial burden that they would rather forfeit the sport than pay. When some institutions are bringing in eye-popping numbers like $163 million in a year, I find that hard to believe. Either way as college sports generate more and more money this is an argument that won’t soon end.