The NCAA and the Student-Athlete: Reform is on the Horizon

Mary Grace Miller

In late 1905, sixty-two colleges and universities became the charter members of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States. In 1906, the organization took the name the National Collegiate Athletic Association (the “NCAA”). The NCAA was established “to protect young people from the dangerous and exploitive athletics practices of the time.” Today, the organization regulates some 400,000 student-athletes and boasts around 1000 member institutions. The NCAA, a voluntary organization, is the “oldest, wealthiest, and most powerful of the national associations, governing the largest, richest, and most popular sports programs in higher education.” The organization established itself on the principle of protecting the amateur student-athlete and has prided itself on that notion ever since. The NCAA is a prominent organization and understandably so; each year, millions of Americans occupy sofas and bar stools to watch college football and college basketball games. Society highly values these “amateur” athletes, and millions of young adults have participated as student-athletes at NCAA member institutions over the years.

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