Investigation of Korean female golfers’ success factors on the LPGA Tour from 1998 to 2007

Abstract

Se Ri Pak is arguably the most famous Korean name ever to play on the LPGA Tour. Ten years after Pak’s debut in 1998, 42 Korean players are now playing on the LPGA Tour. This international phenomenon over the past decade has produced a lot of Korean players and many Korean victories. Nineteen-Koreans have won 64 LPGA Tour events over the past decade. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to analyze the reasons why Korean female golfers have been successful in securing such a dominant position on the LPGA Tour. The survey used in this study was distributed to Korean players who participated in a professional golf event (State Farm Classic Tournament). The results of this study revealed that hard practice, certain goal, and family support were selected as the most important factors to be success on the LPGA Tour by Korean players.

Key words: golf, marketing, consumer behavior, retail

Introduction

With the development of the internet, it is now possible to easily access international newspaper, magazines, blogs, and other media in order to secure news and information
from around the world. For instance, individuals in the United States who are interested in news about Korea and/or its citizens can go to Korean media outlets
and access information about myriad topics concerning Korea. While finding news through Korean media outlets was fairly easy, finding Korean news stories in
American television news programs or cable networks was relatively difficult and uncommon. (Yes, finding information was difficult) When Chan-Ho Park became
the first Korean Major League Baseball (MLB) to be signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994, and Se Ri Pak, became the first Korean to win the U.S. Open
Tournament and advance to the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) Tour in 1998, the Korean people could get more news about them through American television
programs or ESPN (Entertainment and Sport Programming Network) cable program. With South Korea’s economy in shambles in 1998, Chan Ho Park and Se Ri Pak gave
encouragement and hope to Korean people. When Chan Ho Park announced the starting pitcher for the L.A. Dodgers’ game or Se Ri Pak would participated in one of
the LPGA Tour tournaments, Korean television programs and big screens in Seoul city aired these game. As Korean people were watching Park and Pak’s victories
for the Major League baseball game and the LPGA Tour tournaments, Korean people felt some sense of satisfaction from them during the difficult Korean recession
period (16). Most Korean people believed that when these two players were signed to go into a major sports league, they would fail, because of differences related
to skill, physicality, culture, language, food, and a host of other potential challenges. However, Park and Pak overcame these supposed problems and were
very successful in their respective sports. The success of Park and Pak gave great hope to the Korean people to also overcome their serious economic problems
in the late 1990s (16). In addition, as Pak in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour collected four victories (including two major tournaments wins), other
Korean female golfers began to complete and eventually join the LPGA Tour.
As a result of the door opened by Pak and the record of her achievements, South Korea now has the largest international contingent on the LPGA Tour (14). One
of the interesting things about the Korean female golfers on the LPGA Tour is that while the Korean players have a large number of victories, they have not
turned out a dominant player since Pak burst on the scene a decade ago with victories in the 1998 McDonald’s LPGA Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open.
Ten years after Pak’s debut in 1998, 42 Korean players (i.e., Se Ri Pak, Mi-Hyun Kim, Grace Park, Shi-Hyun Ahn, Soo Yeong Kang, etc) are now playing on the LPGA
Tour. Every year, Korean female players are increasing on the LPGA Tour. Nineteen-Koreans (i.e., Se Ri Pak, Mi-Hyun Kim, Grace Park, Hee Won Han, Jeong Jang, etc) have
won 64 LPGA Tour events over the past decade. No other professional sports league in the world has as many Korean players. Only a few Korean female handball players
are playing on professional teams in Japan and Europe, and only one basketball player has played for the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association). The
numerous Korean players and victories on the LPGA Tour is a unique phenomenon. One may wonder why Korean female players are so prevalent on the LPGA Tour and
so good at the sport of golf. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze the reasons why Korean female golfers have been successful in securing such
a dominant position on the LPGA Tour.

The History of the LPGA and the KLPGA
The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour is the longest running women’s professional sport association (1). The LPGA Tour was founded in 1950
by 13 members (1). Based on the LPGA Tour history, in its first season, the LPGA Tour hosted 14 tournaments with $50,000 in total prize money. In 1959,
the LPGA Tour included 26 tournaments and played for more than $200,000 in total prize money. The LPGA Tour featured 33 events and prize money of more than $58
million which was the highest ever paid out in LPGA Tour history. The LPGA Tour players competed for an average purse of $1.7 million for the 2008 season (1).
While the LPGA Tour is over a half-century old, the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour was founded in 1978. In its first season, the
KLPGA Tour held only one tournament. However, in the 2007 season, the KLPGA Tour hosted 22 tournaments with over $7 million in total prize money. About
1,003 members were registered as active members in 2006, and KLPGA Tour players, such as Se Ri Pak, Mi-Hyun Kim and Shi Hyun Ahn are also playing for the LPGA
Tour (6).

Korean Golf Circumstances

Despite the increasing popularity of golf in the world, golf has not always been a popular sport in Korea. The sport of golf was socially recognized as
a luxury in Korea because most Korean people believed that only wealthy people could participate in golf (8). Koreans have long associated golf with corruption
and greed (2). Government officials with meager salaries could never afford to pay the fairway fees; however they could play golf by receiving bribes (2).
The cost of participating in the sport of golf in Korea is very expensive, at least compared to playing golf in the United States. Compared to golf courses
green fees in the United States, where the average cost of playing an 18-hole is about $36 including cart, Korean golf course green fees are about $140 for
an 18-hole (5). Although Korean golf courses often provide better services than that received at typical golf courses in the United States (i.e., caddies, locker
rooms, saunas, other amenities), spending over $150 for participating in a one-time leisure activity is not easy money to come by for median-low income level people
in Korea. However, the golfing population has gradually increased from the late 1990’s. Shin and Nam (16) posit that since 1998, the number of Korean golfers
is gradually increasing because of the economic downturn in Korea which has forced golf courses to decrease membership and green fees. In 2004, there were
approximately 176 golf courses in Korea. According to Korea Golf Index (7), golf participation population was about 2.5 million.

Korean LPGA Tour Players

Ok Hee Ku is a pioneer of Korean women’s golf. She won 19 tournaments in Korea since 1980 and won 23 international tournaments since 1985. Ok-Hee Ku has mostly
played in Korea and Japan. Ok-Hee Ku was the first Korean winner on the LPGA Tour. She won at the 1998 LPGA Standard Register Turquiose Classic Tournament.
She had the record of the most wins in a single season until it was broken by Ji Yai Shin in 2007 (13). Woo-Soon Ko was the first player who won twice on
the LPGA Tour. She won at the Toray Japan Queen Cup in both 1994 and 1995 (17). Ten years later, Ok-Hee Ku won on the LPGA Tour, Se Ri Pak advanced to the LPGA
Tour and won two major tournaments (U.S. Women’s Open and LPGA Championship) and won two other tournaments during her rookie season. Pak won total 24 tournaments
on the LPGA Tour and six victories on the KLPGA Tour since 1996. In addition, Pak was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2007. After Pak advanced
to the LPGA Tour, other Korean female golfers were also challenged to join the LPGA Tour because they gained confidence watching Pak’s successful entry into
the professional tournaments. Largely because of Pak’s achievements, South Korea now has the largest international contingent on the LPGA Tour. Ten years after
Se Ri Pak’s debut, 42 Korean players (not counting Korean-American women like Christina Kim or Michelle Wie), which is 23% of total players (179 LPGA players)
and 50% of international players from Korea in 2007 season, are playing on the LPGA Tour. Nineteen Koreans have won 57 LPGA Tour events, but 44 of those were
from four players: Pak (24), Mi Hyun Kim (eight), Grace Park (six) and Hee-Won Han (six) (18). From 1998 to 2007, five Korean players were named as Rolex Rookie
of the Year including Se-Ri Pak, Mi-Hyun Kim, Hee Won Han, Shi Hyun Ahn, and Seon Hwa Lee. Only three American players, one Mexican, and one Brazilian player
were named Rookie of the Year.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Determining the success factors of Korean players on the LPGA Tour has not been easily accomplished. Shin and Nam (16) tried to explain the social structural
of Korean golfers’ success. They studied the golfing boom in Korea, Korean family structure, the goal-oriented nature of Korean people, the Korean psyche, and
other possible factors for success. One of the interesting issues was coming from Shin and Nam’s study related to the Korean family structure. According
to These scholars, one of the reasons the Korean players can focus and devote themselves to golf is the close involvement of parents, because Korean family
members usually live together in a single household until the children marry. This lengthy period of living together develops strong and close relationships
between parents and children. As Korean young female golfers come to the U.S. to learn golf or participate in a tournament, their father or mother, or both
of them, come to the U.S. together to fully support them. Therefore, young Korean players can play well and feel comfortable staying with their parents in a foreign
country. Usually, Korean players fathers’ roles are that of coach, caddy, adviser, manager or driver during the season. Their mothers are doing such things as
cooking Korean food or doing laundry for their daughter.
Lee, Kim, and Lee (9) credited factors such as Korean parents’ passion for education for their children, corporate sponsorships of players, and early golf education
as the sources of Korean female golfers’ successes on the LPGA Tour. Lee, et al. (9) explained that getting corporate sponsorships for players is one of
the most important factors in playing golf well on the Tour. According to Norwood (12), golfers need a minimum of $150,000 a year to play on the PGA Tour, $100,000
for the Champions Tour which is for Senior players, $75,000 for the LPGA Tour, $55,000 for the Nationwide Tour which is the developmental tour for the PGA
Tour. However, international players need at least $100,000 to play on the LPGA Tour because of international flight fares, staying at hotels and eating food
with their parents, tutoring in English, and other expenses. For example, an LPGA Tour player normally needs about $2,000 for travel, hotels, and meals per
event. In addition, a player should pay at least $1,000 for the first two rounds to her caddie. If a player makes the cut and plays three and four rounds of
the event, she needs to pay more to the caddie. Then, a player needs at least $5,000 to break-even for the event after receiving prize money and taxing. If
a player plans to participate in 20 events per year, she needs about $100,000 for the season. Therefore, players need to get corporate sponsors to be able
to play well on the LPGA Tour under stable financial conditions.
Recently, another study examined the success factors of Korean female professionals on the LPGA Tour. Ramstad (14) believed that hard practice, a passion for golf,
and family structures have led to Korea’s having the world’s best women golfers. In addition, Korean government’s elite sport system for young athletes and strong
spiritual strength are major reasons for their success on the LPGA Tour (9,11). A number of researchers have also suggested that culturalism, spiritual strength,
and sport globalization are added factors to the success (3,10). Korean LPGA Tour golfers had strong mental power and more confidence rather than do any
other LPGA players (9). Lee et al., (9) looked at a socio-cultural analysis on the success of Korean players on the LPGA Tour and Shin & Nam (16) looked
at the case of Korean players on the LPGA Tour as approaching to socio-cultural issues such as gender roles, culture, and sport. Lee et al., (9) anticipated
factors such as Korean parents’ passion for education for their children, corporate sponsorships of players, and early golf education as the sources of Korean female
golfers’ successes on the LPGA Tour, but never before has been studies to approach to experimental studies about the success factors of Korean LPGA players. This
research will be asked one question to Korean LPGA players that what is/are the most important factor/s to survive on the LPGA Tour. Therefore, the purpose
of this study is to analyze the reasons why Korean female golfers have been successful in securing such a dominant position on the LPGA Tour..

METHODS

Sample and data collection
In order to accomplish the goals of this study, there was a need to secure the involvement of Korean players on the LPGA Tour. Therefore, this study was conducted
in Springfield, IL, where the 2007 LPGA State Farm Classic tournament was held. A total of 145 players participated in this tournament. A questionnaire was
distributed to Korean players at the practice putting green and driving range. Twenty-five of 26 potential Korean players at the tournament event participated
in this survey for a response rate of 96%. The golfers who participated in this study were asked to answer one question. A total of 25 out of 26 Korean players
responded and only one player refused to answer a question because of practice. (Total 31 participated in the tournament, not survey. I distributed this questionnaire
to 26 players).

Instrumentation

Based on the review of academic literature (5,9,16) and the accounts in traditional media outlets (i.e., newspapers, magazines) that examined, Korean golfers’ success
factors, a questionnaire was developed that included comprised of 10 factors (hard practice, family support, sponsorship, Korean athlete elite education
system, confidence, turning professional early, the Korean chopstick culture, competitive Korean social circumstance, certain goals, and a passion to play
golf) in one question to find out which factors most influenced Korean players to achieve success on the LPGA Tour. After collection of the data, the analysis
of the results involved frequency counts and descriptive tabulations. For instance, “1” was a hard practice, “2” family support, “3” Sponsorship, “4” Korean elite
athlete system, “5” confidence, “6” Turned professional early, “7” Korean chopstick culture, “8” competitive Korean social circumstance, “9” certain goal, and “10”
passion to golf. The research question was to select the top three reasons why Korean female golfers have been successful in securing such a dominant position
on the LPGA Tour.

RESULTS

The study found that hard practice was the first reason for success on the LPGA Tour. 22 Korean players selected “1” (hard practice) as the top reason for dominating on the LPGA Tour. The second reason from 18 out of 25 Korean players was “9” (certain goals) and 15 players answered that “2” (Family support) was one of the top three reasons for success on the LPGA Tour. Korean players marked “10” (passion for golf) as the fourth reason by players. Four out of 26 players selected “6” (turned professional early). Six Korean players were selected “7” (Korean culture, two players), “8” (competitive Korean social circumstance, two players), and “5” (confidence, two players). Interestingly, only two players marked sponsorship or the Korean Athlete Elite Education System. Therefore, based on these results, sponsorship, Korean Athlete Elite Education System, competitive Korean Social Circumstance, the Korean Chopstick Culture, and confidence were not important factors to success on the LPGA Tour for Korean players. This study suggested that the social phenomenon or Korean culture was not the important factor but rather the individual’s talent or effort (hard practice, certain goal, and passion to golf) to success on the LPGA Tour.

DISCUSSION

Lee et al., (9) anticipated factors such as Korean parents’ passion for education for their children, corporate sponsorships of players, and early golf education as the sources of Korean female golfers’ successes on the LPGA Tour. However, this study found that hard practice, certain goal, and family support are the
most important factors to success on the LPGA Tour. This result described that individual’s skills, efforts, and abilities are more important factors than other factors (i.e., sponsorships, Korean chopstick cultures, or competitive Korean social circumstances).
This study also found that family support was also important factor to success on the LPGA Tour. Shin & Nam (16) also anticipated that family support is the one of the important factor. This result will help to young Korean golfers who are trying to advance to the LPGA Tour. If young Korean female golfers follow
the success factors which were selected by Korean LPGA players who advanced the LPGA Tour since 1998, young Korean female golfers might success easier than ever on the LPGA Tour. As noted above, hard practice, certain goal, and family support were the top three reasons to success on the LPGA Tour.
There are a number of limitations that should be considered when interpreting the results of the study. First this study used only one question to answer. One question to answer might not be generalized on the result. Future study should consider several questions to find the factors. Another limitation of
this study was sample size. This study collected twenty five samples. Total 42 Korean LPGA Tour players were playing for the LPGA Tour in 2007. Therefore, future study should also consider collecting more samples at the LPGA Tour tournaments which is the most Korean players participate in.

CONCLUSIONS

This study was to analyze the reasons why Korean female golfers have been successful in securing such a dominant position on the LPGA Tour. This study found that individual’s skills, efforts, and abilities are more important factors than other factors such as sponsorships, Korean chopstick cultures, or competitive Korean social circumstances.

APPLICATIONS IN SPORT

The significance of these finding is related to the work of sport marketing professionals. With the increasing numbers of Korean female golfers on the LPGA Tour, the LPGA Tour needs to consider Korean players as a marketing strategy. According to Blauvelt (4), the largest percentage of the LPGA Tour TV rights fees came from South Korea. In 1998, the majority of LPGA Tour TV rights came from the U.S. because there had been no Korean players on the LPGA Tour at that time. In addition, the LPGA Tour might consider using a Korean language version online as a way of increasing international traffic, because many Korean fans are visiting the LPGA Tour official website to check Korean players’ stats and information. If the LPGA Tour put products related to Korean players on the online pro shop, the sales of merchandise might greatly increase due to Korean fans. As many Korean players are playing on the LPGA Tour, Korean companies might want to sponsor the LPGA Tour. Before 1998 season, there had been no Korean sponsor on the LPGA Tour. However, since 1998, Cheil Jedang and Samsung (both of which are major corporations in South Korea) took title sponsors for inaugural events and regular tour tournaments. Koron also signed as title sponsor of Koron-LPGA cross-cultural professional development program. This program was designed to help all LPGA Tour players be successful on the LPGA Tour. Therefore, if the LPGA Tour focuses on increasing marketing around Korean players, Korean fans, TV right fees, sponsors, etc will increase and make more revenue for the LPGA Tour.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

None

REFERENCES

  1. About LPGA. (2008). LPGA.com. Retrieved June 6, 2008, from
    www.lpga.com
  2. Baker, M. (1998). Golfer gives weary Korea something to cheer about. Christian Science Monitor, 90(162), p.6.
  3. Bale, J., & Maruire, J.A. (1994). The global sports arena: Athletic talent migration in an interdependent world. London: Frank Cass.
  4. Blauvelt, H. (2003, June 5). Se Ri Pak’s success on LPGA tour inspires countrywomen. USA Today, Retrieved June 6, 2008, from
    www.usatoday.com
  5. Kim, C.R. (2006). The development of proposals to popularize golf as leisure activity in Korea through benchmarking of the U.S. golf cultural characteristics. Journal of Korea Sport Research, 17(5), 375-384.
  6. KLPGA Introduction. (2007). KLPGA.com. Retrieved June 7, 2008, from
    www.klpga.com
  7. Korea Golf Index. (2007). KGAGOLF.or.kr. Retrieved June 5, 2008, from
  8. Kwon, S. (2007). Study on a popularization plan through recognition of Korea’s golf culture. Journal of Korea Sport Research, 18(3), 615-624.
  9. Lee, Y.S., Kim, Y.H., & Lee, C.W. (2004). A socio-cultural analysis on the success of Korean players on LPGA Tour. Journal of Leisure and Recreation Studies, 27, 5-17.
  10. Magee, J., & Sugden, J. (2002). The world at their feet: Professional football and international labor migration. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 26(4), 421-437.
  11. Mook, H.S. (2008, April 23). The effect of extracurricular work of golf. Ma Il Kyung Jae, Retrieved May 15, 2008, from
    news.mk.co.kr
  12. Norwood, B. (2005, May 30). Backing a Tour pro. Business Week, Retrieved June 8, 2008,
    www.businessweek.com
  13. Ok Hee Ku. (2007). Seoul Sisters.com. Retrieved June 6, 2008, from
    www.seoulsisters.com
  14. Ramstad, E. (2007, April 25). Why Korea makes the world”s best women golfers. The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, A11.
  15. Seo, J. (2002, October 2). Taylor Made riding high on golf boom in Korea. The Korea Times, p. 9.
  16. Shin, E.H., & Nam, E.A. (2004). Culture, gender roles, and sport: The case of Korean Players on the LPGA Tour. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 28(3), 223-244.
  17. Sirak, R. (2007, June 20). Pak leads Korean pack. Golf World, Retrieved June 5, 2008, from
    www.golfdigest.com
  18. Stats and News. (2007). LPGA.com. Retrieved June 7, 2008, from

www.lpga.com

 

TABLE 1

The LPGA Rookie of the Year from 1998 to 2007

Year Name Nationality
1998 Se Ri Pak Korea
1999 Mi Hyun Kim Korea
2000 Dorothy Delasin U.S.
2001 Hee Won Han Korea
2002 Beth Bauer U.S
2003 Lorena Ochoa Mexico
2004 Shi Hyun Ahn Korea
2005 Paula Creamer U.S.
2006 Seon Hwa Lee Korea
2007 Angela Park Brazil

 

TABLE 2
Korean players’ success factors on the LPGA Tour


Factors

The total number of times listed(For
your question,
players can select three factors. 22 out of 26 players select “1”.

Hard Practice (“1”) 22
Certain Goal (“9”) 18
Family Support (“2”) 15
Passion to Golf (“10”) 7
Turned Professional Early (“6”) 4
Confidence (“5”) 2
Korean Chopstick Culture (“7”) 2
Competitive Korean Social Circumstance (“8”) 2
Korean Athlete Elite Education System (“4”) 1
Sponsorship (“3”) 1
2018-10-25T10:22:14-05:00November 15th, 2012|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Management, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology, Women and Sports|Comments Off on Investigation of Korean female golfers’ success factors on the LPGA Tour from 1998 to 2007

Female Athletes and Eating Disorders

Abstract

Sports should prevent athletes from having eating disorders not develop eating disorders. There is evidence that female athletes are at a risk of developing disordered eating. The purpose of this study was to find how prevalent eating disorders are in female athletes and examine factors that may have a relationship with eating disorders.

A questionnaire containing two instruments was distributed to volunteer female athletes at a Midwestern university. The EAT 26 was used to measure the prevalence of eating disorders. The ATHLETE questionnaire was used to inquire some factors that may have a relationship with eating disorders among athletes. Results showed 14.3% of the respondents scored a 20 and above on the EAT 26 and thus considered at risk of having an eating disorder. The ATHLETE questionnaire showed that there were some significant negative correlations between the EAT 26 score and participant’s feelings about their body, feelings about sports, feelings about performance, and feelings about eating. The negative correlations meant that the more the participants scored high on their feelings about their body, sports, performance, and eating, the less likely they scored low on the EAT 26, indicating they did not have a risk of an eating disorder.

This study implies that when athletes feel good about their body, sport, performance and their eating, the less likely they will have an eating disorder. This study makes an important contribution in understanding female athletes and eating disorders as well as factors that may have a relationship to eating disorders in female athletes.

(more…)

2017-08-03T10:50:58-05:00August 30th, 2012|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology, Women and Sports|Comments Off on Female Athletes and Eating Disorders

Description of Phases and Discrete Events of the Lacrosse Shot

2014-05-13T14:36:19-05:00August 24th, 2012|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Exercise Science, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Description of Phases and Discrete Events of the Lacrosse Shot

The Impact of Service Quality and Satisfaction on Customers’ Future Intentions, in the Sport Spectators’ Context

Abstract

This study was aimed to determine the degree to which service quality perceptions and customer satisfaction predict the intentions of repurchase and word-of-mouth communication. Nine hundred and twenty five (N=925) spectators of Greek professional football, participated in the study and completed the SPORTSERV questionnaire, to measure the perceptions of service quality, satisfaction, repurchase intention and word-of-mouth. An alpha reliability analysis of the service quality was conducted, to test the internal consistency of the five dimensions (responsiveness, access, security, reliability and tangibles) as a result they were all in acceptable ranges. Satisfaction was measured by five items. Repurchase intention was measured by two items and word-of-mouth was measured by three items. In order to discover possible relations among service quality, satisfaction and future intentions multiple regression analysis were conducted. The results revealed that service quality and satisfaction predict together a significant proportion of spectators’ repurchase intention (the total percentage of prediction was 51%, R2=.511, p< 0.001) and word-of-mouth communication (the total percentage of prediction was 53.8% R2=.538, p< 0.001). This study supports previous research findings with a focus on the sport spectators’ realm, regarding the general impact of service quality and satisfaction on fans future intentions, however there have been some differences in terms of how the service quality dimensions affect these factors. Moreover, sport managers should use this information as a means to understand the future behavior of sport spectators in order to design marketing strategies so as to retain their customers and attract new ones.

Key words: service quality, satisfaction, repurchases intention, word-of-mouth.

Introduction

Service quality and satisfaction have dominated the bibliography on services and sport services literature (8). For many years sport management focused on service quality and satisfaction, which constituted the two key factors of sport organizations, in order to predict the customer’s desirable behavior. Service quality is an important topic in the marketing literature, since perceptions for service quality are directly related to customer satisfaction and customer retention (1). The need for delivering qualitative services to sport spectators’ area can be achieved, by focusing on the spectators’ needs and paying attention to the quality and operation of well-organized sport facilities (47). According to researchers it is widely believed (e.g. 30, 42) that satisfaction is a very important factor which affects the repurchase intention and word-of-mouth communication and thus influence future behavior (19, 25).

In terms of sports, there is no doubt that football is an individual case in the spectrum of sports. This is because of its global popularity, the large number of dedicated fans who clearly identify with the sport as well as the incredible amount of financial investments provided by private enterprise, sponsors and investors (37). Let’s not disregard the nominal profits this sport accumulates.

As far as Greek football is concerned, we can undoubtedly identify specific particularities within the sport (40). For example it is obvious that the overwhelming enthusiasts tend to become quite obsessive and identify with their teams in a personal level. The fans really take it to heart to such an extent that this can lead to friction violence and chaos in the stadium. It should be pointed out that in recent years it has been forbidden for fans to attend matches away from home in order to prevent these violent kinds of outbreaks in the stadiums (52).

The relationships among service quality satisfaction and future intentions are well established in the services area and there is enough evidence to support these relationships in the sport spectrum and the sport spectators’ area as well. Many scholars investigated these relationships and they found that service quality and satisfaction are directly related to customer’s future intentions (8, 30 and 43). However, there is limited information concerning these relationships in the realm of football especially in the Greek region where there is no data available whatsoever.

This study aims to investigate the relationships among service quality, satisfaction and future intentions in sport spectators’ area and particularly within professional football in the Greek spectrum.

Review of literature

Service Quality

In the modern era the continuously increasing competition in the service sector led managers to re-define their strategy to acquire advantages over their competitors and to focus their attention on service quality (16, 35 and 51). The first theoretical approach for quality of services was based on the “disconfirmation paradigm” (16, 34). According to this theory, the quality of services is resulted from a process of comparison of expected performance with the perception for the real performance as it was initially prescribed by Gronroos (15-16). It is has also been suggested that quality can be considered as a personal perception regarding superiority and perfection of a given product or a service (48).

The measurement of service quality has always been a controversial issue. The first instrument for measuring service quality was developed by Parasuraman et al. (1988) and Gronroos (1984). Parasuraman et al. (1988) proposed the five-dimensional SERVQUAL model, while Gronroos (1984) proposed a three-dimensional model. Many other models were developed in the following years along the range of the marketing industry. However, despite the fact that it has been criticized in terms of its applicability across different industries, the SERVQUAL model is the most popular one in the literature (1). Based on SERVQUAL, Theodorakis and Alexandris (2008) developed the five-dimensional SPORTSERV scale for measuring service quality in the sport spectator context. The five dimensions of SPORTSERV scale are “responsiveness,” “access,” “security,” “reliability,” and “tangibles.”

The conceptualization and measurement of service quality remain controversial topics in the services marketing literature (4). However, the vast majority of scholars agree to the importance and the effects of service quality (4, 9). Zeithaml (1988) mentioned that delivery of quality services is a precondition for success. Kelley and Turley (2001) claim that service quality is vital for the survival and the success of sports, while Cronin and Taylor (1992) considered service quality as a key-strategy for the service providers to be placed more effectively in the market.

Satisfaction

Satisfaction has been widely researched and analyzed in great depth in the last four decades (13, 17, 44 and 49). It’s one of the most favored subjects in the services literature in previous decades (11, 20, 32 and 33), as well as in recent times (5, 14, 17, 38 and 43). As for satisfaction, there have been a lot of definitions which show that there are many different perceptions, opinions and arguments among the researchers who deal with the particular subject, regarding the nature and the elements of satisfaction. In the commercial enterprising terminology, satisfaction is reported as a dimension that measures how the products or the services that are offered by a provider satisfy or even exceed the expectations of customers (25).

In the sports context, Oliva et al. (1992) found that sports fans reach some level of satisfaction that is experienced from the follow-up of an athletic act, through the frame “expectation-disconfirmation”. The frame “expectation – disconfirmation”, based on the significance that the satisfaction level is determined by the degree in which the initial customers’ expectations is achieved or is not achieved by the evaluated service. Alexandris et al. (2004) noted that regardless of the disagreements and differences in conceptualizing satisfaction, it is acceptable that satisfaction is a post-choice evaluative judgment and refers to consumer fulfillment. According to Jahanshahi et al. (2011) most definitions for satisfaction share some common elements: a) consumer satisfaction is a cognitive or emotional response, b) this response refers to a particular focus (expectations, product, consumption experience, etc.), c) the response occurs at a particular time (after consumption, after choice, based on accumulated experience, etc.). Customers’ satisfaction is critical in the sports industry, where the sport organizations focus on the needs and wishes of their customers, in order to achieve their objectives (25). Many researchers have concluded that satisfaction affects customers’ repurchase intention and word-of-mouth communication. Therefore such elements are vital for the success of the sport organizations (e.g., 12, 25).

Repurchase Intention

The repurchase intention refers to the consumers’ tendency to buy products or services from the same company or the same organization that provide services (8, 48 and 51). Similarly, according to Hellier et al. (2003) the repurchase intention is the process of purchasing a product or a service from the same company based on a previous experience which undoubtedly was satisfying.

Word-of-Mouth Communication

Word-of-mouth communication is a process in which consumers that have used a product or a service, communicate their experience through word-of-mouth, to consumers planning to buy the product or the service (25). Positive word-of-mouth is reported to be the informal communication among consumers with regard to the evaluations of products or services, particularly when the evaluations are positive and include recommendations to others to proceed in similar purchases (2). Consequently, in contrast to other external promotional strategies used by a sport organization, positive word-of-mouth that includes recommendations, is more important and has a stronger impact on customer’s attitudes and future behavior (18, 25).

Relations among service quality, satisfaction and future intentions

Customer’s future intentions and their decisions to repurchase a service and to indulge in positive word-of-mouth, depends often on a complete evaluation of service and supplier, based on the experience of multiple transactions of services with the given supplier (5, 10). Many researchers determined various factors that influence these intentions. The environment where the service is provided or the facility and its qualitative features have a significant influence on the repurchase intention, as they affect the total experience and satisfaction (5, 14, 25, 28, 38, 43 and 45). Similar results also have been found in other studies, where the researchers paid a lot of attention to the environment and quality of services in facilities (13, 46 and 49), as well as the responsiveness of the personnel (13, 43). Other researchers found in their studies that the most powerful factor that leads to behavioral intentions is satisfaction (7, 30 and 36). Matsuoka et al. (2003) also asserted that satisfaction predicts the repurchase intention. Yoshida et al. (2010) mentioned that satisfaction can create long term profits for sport organizations, including positive word-of-mouth, parallel markets and enhancing the customers’ loyalty. In the sport spectators’ context, satisfaction has been considered as an important feature of predicting customer’s intentions when it comes to attending future sporting events (8, 46). The researchers in the area of services marketing, propose that the spectator’s perceptions for the core product and the secondary services (as an example in the sport spectators area), can coexist as precedents to customer’s satisfaction and their behavioral intentions (35). Other studies (22, 26, 29 and 39), noted that satisfaction is a basic factor, but is only one of the many variables that can influence the future intentions of customers. Kuo et al. (2009) mentioned that service quality positively influences satisfaction; therefore satisfaction positively influences future intentions. They also stated that service quality has an indirect positive effect on repurchase intention through customer satisfaction or perceived value. However, it must be noted that other researchers found that there is a direct link between service quality and future intentions (3, 51).

Although the relationships among service quality, satisfaction and future intentions, are well established in the services area, there is limited evidence regarding these relationships in the sport services area (30). This study, aims to investigate the relationships among the above mentioned factors in the sport spectators area, especially in the area of Greek professional football.

The purpose of this study was to determine the degree to which service quality perceptions and customer satisfaction predict repurchase intentions and word-of-mouth communication. It was hypothesized that service quality and satisfaction would have a strong impact and predict repurchase intentions and word-of-mouth communication.

Methodology

Sample

Nine hundred and twenty five (N=925) football spectators participated in the study. These spectators were attending games of Greek professional football in six different stadiums in Greece. The majority of the spectators were males (80%), single (46.8%), full time employed (52.3%) and aged between 26-35 years old (29.9%). Their educational level was mostly secondary education (40.7%) and university graduates (36.6%). The majority of spectators were of low annual income (39.7% less than 12.000 € per year).

Instrumentation

A modified version of the (SPORTSERVE) questionnaire proposed by Theodorakis et al. (2008) was used that was previously validated and determined to be reliable, in measuring service quality, satisfaction, repurchase intention and word-of- mouth communication for Greek sports spectators. Twenty two items measured service quality. More specifically five items were used to measure “Responsiveness” (e.g. “The stadium personnel has always the willingness to help me”); five items were used to measure “Access” (e.g. “Access to the stadium is easy”); four items were used to measure “Security” (e.g. “I feel secure in the stadium during the game”); four items were used to measure “Reliability” (e.g. “The football club keeps their promises”) and four items were used to measure “Tangibles” (e.g. “My seat in stadium is comfortable”). Five items were used to measure satisfaction (e.g. “I am satisfied with my decision to watch the game”). Two items were used to measure repurchase intentions (e.g., “How possible is to continue watching games of your favorite team in this stadium in the future?”) and three items were used to measure word-of-mouth (e.g., “How possible is it to encourage your friends to come and watch football games in this stadium?”). All, answers were given on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (Very strongly Disagree) to 7 (Very strongly agree) and referred in previous games.

Data collection

A stratified sampling procedure ensured that the sample was representative of the population measured. Spectators were randomly selected and completed the questionnaires voluntarily. Questionnaires were distributed inside the stadiums and were completed prior to the start of the games. The research had been conducted from September 2010 until March 2011.

Statistical analysis

Reliability analyses (Cronbach’s alpha) tested the internal consistency of the service quality dimensions, satisfaction, and repurchase intention and word-of-mouth communication in the context of the football spectators. Multiple regression analyses were used to investigate the impact of service quality and satisfaction to the prediction of repurchase intention and word-of-mouth communication.

Results

The internal consistency of the five dimensions of service quality (“Tangibles”, “Responsiveness”, “Access”, “Reliability” and “Security”), satisfaction and future intentions (repurchase intention and word of mouth communication) was measured by Cronbach’s alpha reliability and the results are depicted in Table 1.

Table 1

Cronbach’s alpha reliability for Service Quality, Satisfaction and Future Intentions

Factor M S.D. Items Cronbach’s Alpha
Service Quality Tangibles 4.31 1.41 4 .923
Responsiveness 4.47 1.63 5 .927
Access 4.40 1.53 5 .892
Reliability 4.67 1.56 4 .925
Security 4.70 1.62 4 .915
Satisfaction Satisfaction 5.08 1.60 5 .924
Future Intentions Repurchase intention 5.68 1.62 2 .873
Word of mouth 4.61 1.73 3 .879

The analysis indicated high reliability for all five service quality components satisfaction and future intentions.

Descriptive statistics

The findings indicated that people weren’t so happy with “tangibles” (M= 4.31), “responsiveness” (M= 4.40) and “access” (M= 4.47). More positive compared to the previous, was the perception regarding “security” (M=4.70) and “reliability” (M=4.67). People also declared being somewhat satisfied (M=5.08). They also stated that they were very likely to continue watching games at the specific stadium (M= 5.68), but not as much likely to be involved in word-of-mouth communication (M= 4.61).

Regression Analyses

Two separate multiple regression analyses were performed in order to test the degree to which service quality and satisfaction could predict repurchase intention and word-of-mouth communication. In both regression analyses the five service quality dimensions and satisfaction were set as the independent variables, whereas the repurchase intention and word-of-mouth communication as the dependent ones. Service quality contributed significantly (F = 65,698, p< 0.001) and predicted a significant proportion (26.3%) of the variance of the repurchase intention. However, it is worth noting that only “reliability” (t=7,327, p<0.001), and “access” (t=2.395, p<.05), offered a significant contribution. “Responsiveness”, “security” and “tangibles” were not included within the predictors. Satisfaction also contributed significantly (F= 463,835, p< 0.001) and predicted another 24.7% of the variance of the dependent variable. The total percentage of prediction was 51% (R2= .511, p< 0.001). The results for repurchase intention are presented in Table 2.

Table 2

Multiple Regression, Model Summary for Repurchase Intention

Factor B t p
Service Quality Responsiveness -.027 -.881 .379
Access -.070 -2,395 .017
Security .022 .678 .498
Reliability .235 7,327 .000
Tangibles .016 .504 .615
Satisfaction Satisfaction .579 21,537 .000

As far as word-of-mouth communication is concerned, service quality contributed significantly (F=97,826, p< 0.001) and predicted a significant proportion (34.4%) of the variance of the dependent variable. Of the five dimensions of service quality, this time four offered significant contribution (“responsiveness”, (t =2,514, p< 0.05); “security”, (t =3,016, p < 0.05); “reliability”, (t = 6,199, p< 0.001) and “tangibles” (t = 2,787, p< 0.05). “Access” was not included within the predictors. Satisfaction contributed significantly (F=387,699, p< 0.001) and predicted another 19.4%, of the variance of the dependent variable. The total percentage of prediction was 53.8% (R2= .538, p< 0.001). The results for word-of-mouth communication are presented in Table 3.

Table 3

Multiple Regression Analysis, Model Summary for word-of-mouth

Factor B t p
Service Quality Responsiveness .074 2,514 .012
Access -.044 -1,557 .120
Security .095 3,016 .003
Reliability .193 6,199 .000
Tangibles .085 2,787 .005
Satisfaction Satisfaction .513 19,690 .000

Discussion and Conclusions

The purpose of this paper was to determine the degree to which service quality and customer satisfaction predicts repurchase intention and word-of-mouth communication in the sport spectators’ context and especially in professional football. The results supported the research hypothesis, which service quality and satisfaction have an influence and can predict both repurchase intention and word-of-mouth communication in professional football. Based on the results, it can be argued that satisfaction is the most influential factor, especially regarding repurchase intentions. These results confirm the findings from other researchers in the services area (8, 33, 36, 43 and 48). However, the results gave an interesting view for the service quality role towards future intentions. In terms of repurchase intentions, only “reliability” and “access” seem to have a significant impact, while the total percentage of prediction was 26.3%. Surprisingly enough, the influence of “security”, “tangibles” and “responsiveness” were not significant which is an issue that needs further investigation. Theodorakis et al. (2008) found similar results, although in his research “responsiveness” had a significantly weak impact statistically, on repurchase intention. On the other hand, service quality has a closer relation with word-of-mouth communication, given that four out of five dimensions (reliability, tangibles, responsiveness and security) had a statistically significant impact and they predicted 34.7% of the word-of-mouth total variance. Studies in the marketing literature reported that service quality perceptions (3, 51) directly connected to repurchase intention and word-of-mouth communication. The results of the present study provide support for this report. Trying to interpret these findings, we can argue that the nature of sport services and its features create this form. Service quality components relate closely to word-of-mouth communication, but they have a weak relation in correlation with the repurchase intention, whereas on the other hand satisfaction seems to play a more significant role (8, 43 and 48). Given that we have had serious violence phenomena in Greek football recently, it was a surprise that “security” does not affect spectators’ repurchases intention. That might have happened because security might be considered as a problem only in specific matches, where the result of games is very important, and/or the rival teams are located in the same city. It must be noted that fans of the opposite team are not permitted by the Greek law to follow their favourite team when they play away from home. Also, it was not expected that “responsiveness” would not have a significant impact on the repurchase intention.

In summary, this paper has a theoretical value, as it confirms findings from researches in the services area (12, 30 and 36), and enhances the knowledge regarding the service quality, satisfaction and behavioral intentions cycle in the area of sport spectators, particularly in professional football.

Applications in sport

The practical implications are also important, as the sport organizations are struggling to get a competitive advantage and gain a good position in the market. The results of the present study have practical implications especially for sports managers in sport spectators’ area who aim to encourage their customers to attend more often.

In this effort repurchase intention and word-of-mouth communications are considered as vital factors. This indicates that service quality and satisfaction have a very strong impact on both repurchase intentions and word-of-mouth communication, so managers should bear in mind the contemporary needs of today’s spectators in an effort to please them. In other words, sport managers should develop appropriate marketing strategies and invest in quality of services and satisfaction. From a managerial point of view, since managers lack control of the core product, they should try to improve all the secondary services. In terms of service quality, they should emphasize first on “reliability” and then on “tangibles”, “responsiveness” and “security”. “Access” was considered as an important factor for repurchase intention but not for word-of-mouth communication.

As far as Greece is concerned, the fact is that access is already a big problem in the daily routine in Greek cities, so people mind considering this as an extra problem. However, access issues are not going to improve as long as the stadiums are located in the center of densely populated areas.

On the other hand, spectators’ satisfaction is the most influential factor and is very important particularly for repurchase intention. These findings support the results of previous studies that a satisfied spectator is very much likely to proceed in repurchase actions (e.g. 25, 27 and 43). Managers have to put a lot of their efforts on satisfying their customers, because consumers’ satisfaction is the most crucial factor for future behavior.

In conclusion, the present study in the context of professional soccer provided evidence that,

  1. the relationship between service quality and spectators’ repurchase intentions is weak and limited to the dimension of reliability and access only
  2. the relationship between service quality and spectators’ word-of-mouth communication is very strong,
  3. satisfaction has a strong relationship with both repurchase intention and word-of-mouth communication.

Limitations and future research

The present study collected data from Greece’s professional football. As the cultural diversities might influence the conclusions of each study, it would be useful to have evidence from different countries. Thus, cross-cultural research should be conducted in the future and help practitioners and academics to better understand the similarities and differences in the behavioral patterns of football fans internationally.

Finally, along with service quality and satisfaction, future research should incorporate other factors and dimensions that have been shown to significantly predict the spectator’s behavior, such as those of value, loyalty, motives and brand associations.

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Corresponding Author

Yanni Thamnopoulos
Aggelopoulou 46, TK 54352,
Thessaloniki, Greece
yathamno@gmail.com
+00306948943841

Author Biographies

Yanni Thamnopoulos

Candidate PhD of Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences in Democritus University of Thrace.

George Tzetzis

Associate Professor of Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Sakis Laios

Professor of Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences in Democritus University of Thrace.

2017-08-03T10:44:47-05:00June 15th, 2012|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Facilities, Sports Management|Comments Off on The Impact of Service Quality and Satisfaction on Customers’ Future Intentions, in the Sport Spectators’ Context

Point/Counterpoint: Paying College Athletes

Abstract

The notion of paying college football players has been an ongoing debate since the early 1900’s. With current television revenue resulting from NCAA football bowl games and March Madness in basketball, there is now a clamoring for compensating both football and basketball players beyond that of an athletic scholarship. This article takes a point/counterpoint approach to the topic of paying athletes and may have potential implications/consequences for college administrators, athletes, and coaches. Dr. John Acquaviva defends the current system in which colleges provide an athletic scholarship that provides a “free college education” in return for playing on the university team. Dr. Dennis Johnson follows with a counterpoint making the case that athletes in these sports should receive compensation beyond that of a college scholarship and forwards five proposals to pay the athletes.

Key words: pay for play, athletic scholarships

Introduction: History of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

The idea of paying college athletes to compete dates back to what is considered to be the first intercollegiate competition. In a regatta between Harvard and Yale Universities, Harvard used a coxswain who was not even a student enrolled at the Ivy League school (5). Much like today’s universities whose appetites for appearances in corporate-sponsored “big money” football bowl events; Harvard may have used the non-student to please regatta sponsor Elkins Railroad (23).

In the late 1800’s, football played by college teams was a brutal sport but enjoyed by many fans. However, from 1900 to 1905, there were 45 players who died playing the sport (22). This prompted President Theodore Roosevelt to summon the presidents of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, and threaten them with a ban unless the sport was modified. As a result of that meeting, a group of 62 university presidents convened to form the Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1906. This group evolved into the NCAA in 1910, but as a group it only possessed supervisory power (22).

College football became even more popular in the period of 1920-1940. This was a time when commercialism in the educational system was being questioned on a variety of levels. One such fundamental question was posed in 1929 by Howard Savage, a staff member of the Carnegie Foundation. He raised a question in an article entitled Athletics in American College (originally published in 1930 but reprinted in 1999) “whether an institution in the social order whose primary purpose is the development of the intellectual life can at the same time serve an agency to promote business, industry, journalism, and organized athletics on an extensive commercial basis? More importantly, the report asked “can it (the university) concentrate its attention on securing teams that win, without impairing the sincerity and vigor of its intellectual purpose” (9, p.495)? Savage also states that “alumni devices for recruiting winning teams constitutes the most disgraceful phase of recent intercollegiate athletics” (9, p. 495). In sum, the original 1929 report claimed that “big time” college sports were not educational, but were entirely financial and commercial.

Athletes during the early and mid-1900’s were routinely recruited and paid to play; and there were several instances where individuals representing the schools were not enrolled as students. For example, there is one report of a Midwestern university using seven members of its team that included the town blacksmith, a lawyer, a livery man, and four railroad employees (5). Other athletes at colleges were given high paying jobs for which they did little or no work. In 1948, the NCAA adopted a “Sanity Code” that limited financial aid for athletes to tuition and fees, and required that aid otherwise be given based on need (5). In the early 1950’s, with the threat of several southern schools bolting from the NCAA, the code was revised to allow athletic scholarships to cover tuition, fees, and a living stipend.

However, by the mid-1950’s many schools were still struggling with the issue of offering athletic scholarships. Some university presidents ultimately decided to maintain the principles of amateurism and further serve the mission of higher education. Those were presidents of universities that today make up the Ivy League. They concluded that it was not in the best interest of their universities to award athletic scholarships, and have remained steadfast even today.

After passing Title IX in the mid 1970’s, the NCAA absorbed the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) and began to govern women’s sport at the collegiate level. Over the past 50 years, the NCAA has also expanded into three divisions with a multitude of championship events on a yearly basis (20). There are more than 1,300 member institutions that represent an estimated 400,000 student athletes who participate in sport (21). The result of this growth and development are enormous increases in revenue. NCAA President Mark Emmert reports the NCAA revenues for the 2010-11 fiscal year is projected at $757 million, of which $452.2 million will go to Division I members (14).

While seemingly operating in a purely capitalistic/professional atmosphere, the NCAA continues to endorse an amateurism concept in college athletics. These competing, and often contradictory, values lead some college athletes in big time football and basketball programs to question the status quo of the present system through their words and actions. For example, many athletes are still attempting to get their “piece of the pie,” albeit under the table. And so it leads to our point-counterpoint.

Point: College Athletes Should Not Be Paid

The intensity of the argument to pay college athletes has escalated in the past few years. Perhaps it’s because of the current economic climate and everyone, including amateur athletes is looking for ways to make money? Or maybe it’s because many higher learning institutions have given the public access to their annual budget and readers focus on the profit of select athletic programs? Or maybe it is due to the absurd coaches’ salaries and the money that colleges make from football bowl games and basketball tournaments? Regardless, this has magnified the fact that the athletes see none of these profits and thus begs the simple question: “Where’s my share?” Perhaps a fair question, but to understand this argument better, a healthy debate is needed. So, here are some points to consider.

Point #1: Education is Money

Colleges and universities provide an invaluable and vital service to our communities: education. A now-famous bumper sticker once read: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” To address that very slogan, the U.S. census bureau, as reported by Cheesman-Day and Newberger (7), expressed this best when they reported that the lifetime earnings for those with a college degree are over $1 million dollars more than non-graduates. Despite such a statistic, essays and op-ed columns continue to pour in from those who favor paying student-athletes while simultaneously refusing to acknowledge or accept the value of a college education. Is a college education priceless or not?

A sports-journalist in a recent national radio interview proposed that any argument against paying college athletes based on the sole reason that education is the prize is “antiquated”. But what seems antiquated and even shortsighted is the belief that paying a college athlete some (or even a lot of) money will solve all or even some of student’s long-term issues. The fear of the NCAA, as it should be, is that the mere notion of paying college athletes undermines the university’s primary purpose – education, something far more valuable than a modest annual stipend proposed by many. If it currently appears that the universities “don’t really care” about the athlete, paying them would intensify that belief, not dissolve it.

The irony in this dispute is that student-athletes do cost the university a substantial amount of money each year. For example, a full scholarship over four years can range between $30,000 and $200,000 depending if the institution is public or private (29). But let’s address this main point head on: There is an obvious lack of appreciation of a college degree from those in favor of paying athletes, and until a genuine gratitude for this concept develops, this argument will probably continue to linger.

Point #2: There Are Problems with Payment

Despite the well-documented scandals and corruption in college athletics (30), many would probably agree that paying athletes would exponentially increase the need for intense NCAA oversight – an enormous task by all accounts. Plus, there are the practical issues to consider. For example, how much should the athletes get paid and will payments be based on performance? What if the athlete gets hurt? What if the athlete is a bust and despite remaining on the team, doesn’t start or even play at all? – Issues that seem to raise far more questions than answers. But perhaps most important – What will happen to the non-revenue sports at the colleges who lose money from all of their sports programs – including football and basketball? It has been shown that only a fraction of Division I football and men’s basketball programs turn a profit (24, 20). The other Division I football and basketball programs as well as sports such as baseball, softball, golf, hockey, women’s basketball (minus a couple of notable programs), and just about all Division II sports not only fail to make money, but actually drain their athletic budgets. The outcome here would be inevitable: Forcing athletic departments to pay its football and basketball players would result in the eventual elimination of most, if not all, of the non-revenue sports. Is that what we want?

We cannot afford to be myopic on this issue. That is, there are only a limited number of programs that make big money, but yet there are hundreds of schools who absorb big losses at the cost of providing athletes a place to compete and earn a degree. The purpose of the NCAA, along with Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), Little League, and dozens of other organized forms of amateur sport is to provide a venue to play these sports – something we should not take for granted. The problem is that some have shifted in thinking that playing an organized sport is a right, whereas it still stands as a privilege.

Point #3: The University Offers More Than an Education

Concerts, lecture series by prominent people, on-stage productions, movies, intramural sports, fitness facilities, and a variety of clubs are all part of the typical university experience. Most students agree that colleges are self-contained acres of learning and socializing, all which takes place in a safe environment. It’s common for schools to subsidize the above-mentioned on-campus activities by adding fees to the tuition – which means that it’s free to a full-scholarship athlete. Other benefits to the athlete include the regular use of pristine gyms, well-manicured fields, athlete-only (and often team-only) workout facilities, sports medicine care, the opportunity to travel via away games, specialized meal plans and free foot gear and athletic attire. In addition, athletes are improving their trade from the best coaching minds in the sport; not to mention having access to some of the best nutrition and strength/conditioning personnel. And perhaps the most overlooked benefits are that the school provides the player with high-profile name recognition, a dedicated fan base, media exposure, and a competitive atmosphere with proven rivals, all of which took decades, effort and money for each institution to establish.

Point #4: The Athletic Department Has Its Role

Keep in mind that student-athletes are not employees of the university, rather they are students first and athletes second. The university can indeed make money from the sports programs; however, for those that do, the money simply goes back into the athletic program to fund the non-revenue sports (24). In fact, every year the NCAA sponsors over 80 national championships in three divisions, demonstrating the range and depth of their organization (20). While it is true that the champion in football and men’s basketball (and most other sports for that matter) seem to come from a relatively small pool of universities, it might be safe to assume that paying athletes would create an even bigger disparity since so few universities actually make money. Let’s face it, we are an underdog-loving country, and paying athletes would all but ensure that teams like Butler University, who made it to the Final Four in consecutive tournaments (2010 and 2011), will never do it again.

Point #5: Athletes Know the Deal

From the moment the full-scholarship papers are signed, each participant’s role is very clear: Schools accept the responsibility of the student’s tuition, meal plan, and boarding, while the athlete is provided with the opportunity to earn a degree, engage in college life and play their favorite sport in a well-organized, and often high profile fashion. The document signed by each student-athlete describes this agreement in an unmistakable manner. Although wordy and at times complex – a necessity due to the nature of the agreement – there’s no vagueness in the general arrangement or a hidden agenda from either party (10). A failure to honor the basic premise of any such contract would cause all forms of business – big or small – to crumble. If for some reason the university could be held liable for entrapment or some other form of dishonesty, then their athlete’s argument would stand on firmer ground. But frankly, the details of this agreement are well known by all involved, and rather strangely, no one seems to mind when signing them.

In conclusion, it should be noted that any NCAA improprieties or blatant corruption may have a carry-over effect into empathizing with the position given here. While corruption and other related-concerns are legitimate and need investigation, paying college athletes still remains a separate debate. It is vital to this process to view each NCAA issue independently and avoid making judgments on them as a whole. The position here is that, like many organizations, the NCAA should not be dismissed or discredited on one issue due to the mishandling of others. Further, if the contention is that many student athletes enter college unprepared or that athletics takes up too much time to excel (or even earn a degree), those are separate, but much needed arguments, and are not related to the issue of paying athletes.

Now more than ever, we live in an era of entitlement. At one time our country viewed the chance at higher education as a priceless commodity. However, it now seems that a college education is not held in the same esteem and worse yet, some see it as simply an opportunity to earn money. Although it is now evident that there has been a failure to convince much of the public of the true value of an education, keeping college athletes as pure amateurs remains the right thing to do.

Counter Point: Athletes in “Big-Time” Sports Should Be Paid

Introduction

The argument that a college athletic scholarship is an equal quid pro quo for a college education has been utilized since athletic scholarships were approved by the NCAA in 1950’s. My colleague makes one point that is totally accurate – a college graduate can in fact make a great deal more money over a lifetime when compared to non-graduates. However, the remainder of the author’s points are half-truths and in reality just plain falsehoods. For instance, a “full athletic scholarships” do not provide a “free” education (as it does not cover all costs incurred from matriculation to graduation. In many cases, the university does not live up to its end of the bargain of providing an education; as evidenced by the dismal number in the graduation rates, especially among African Americans. Furthermore, the athletic scholarship is only a one-year (renewable) agreement that can be terminated by the coach or university in any given year for any reason.

In debating the pay-for-play issue in college athletics, the history of the governing body (i.e., currently the NCAA), their mission and view of amateurism, the past history of college athletes benefitting financially, and the degree to which athletes benefit from the university experience must all be examined. The counter point section of this paper addresses each point made by my colleague. Using the Eitzen (12) analogy comparing the NCAA and big-time athletic programs to the old southern plantation system will be the underpinning wellspring for the subject of athlete exploitation and the financial benefits enjoyed by the university derived from that plantation-like exploitation. An economic viewpoint will be presented to demonstrate the cartel-like atmosphere held by the NCAA while maintaining the illusion of amateurism.

Finally, five proposals that outline means to promote pay-for-play in NCAA Division I football and men’s basketball will be presented. The arguments that follow are specifically tailored for those two sports at schools who receive bonus money from the NCAA, as those universities and their coaches enjoy considerable revenue from TV contracts and sponsorships generated by bowl games and “March Madness” appearances.

Point #1: Athletic Scholarships Provide a “Free Education” is not correct

As mentioned, in the 1950’s the NCAA approved adding living stipends to athletic scholarships that previously included only tuition and fees. Today, the “full ride” scholarship can only include tuition, fees, room, board, and books. And as mentioned in the previous section, in some cases, depending on the school attended, that scholarship can be worth anywhere from $30,000 to $200,000, although the figures $20,000 to $100,000 over a four year period might be more accurate. In any case, that still does not cover the full cost of attending college.

The Collegiate Athletes Coalition (CAC) estimates that NCAA scholarships are worth about $2000 less than the cost of attending a university, as it does not account for expenses such as travel and sundries. Former Nebraska head football coach and United States Congressman, Tom Osborne (R-NE), calculates the gap between scholarship funding and the actual cost of attendance to be closer to $3,000. Even former NCAA President, Myles Brand, indicated that he favored increasing scholarship limits: “Ideally, the value of an athletically related scholarship would be increased to cover the full-cost of attendance, calculated at between $2,000 to $3000 more per year than is currently provided, I favor this approach of providing the full cost of attendance” (23, p.232).

So yes, the scholarship can be seen as pay for play, or at the very least, a quid pro quo for services rendered during a four year period. However, even with a full scholarship, an athlete will have to pay somewhere between $8,000 and $12,000 out of pocket to bridge the cost-of-living gap. Therefore, the full athletic scholarship does not provide a “free” education. Thus question remains: is the full scholarship a fair and equitable deal for the athlete?

Athlete Exploitation-The Plantation System

Eitzen (12) among others (27) makes the analogy that the NCAA operates like the “plantation system” of the old south. The coaches are the overseers who get work from the laborers (players) who provide riches for the masters (universities) while receiving little for their efforts. Perhaps slightly over-stated (obviously the athlete is not a slave, but maybe an indentured servant), the student–athlete is dominated, managed, and controlled, and they don’t receive a wage commensurate to their contribution as expressed in dollars earned by the university. Eitzen notes that athletes are sometimes mistreated physically and mentally and are often denied the rights and freedoms of other citizens. Ultimately, they have no real democratic recourse in an unjust system.

There are other similarities to the plantation analogy. Slaves were not free to leave the plantation much like an athlete cannot get out of a letter of intent (without penalty) and/or transfer without the penalty of sitting out a year. Much like the slaves who had no right to privacy, athletes are subject to mandatory drug testing (even though their coaches/masters are not tested), room checks, and limits on where they can and cannot go in the community. The athletes can be prohibited from political protests and the right to assemble. And finally, they can be subjected to mental cruelty and physical abuse (e.g., early morning torture sessions), all in order to create obedient slaves; student athletes.

Furthermore, collegiate athletics is often the only game in town for many of these athletes. For instance, football players must be in their third year of college or over the age of 21 to enter the National Football League (NFL). Basketball players, on the other hand, must attend college for one year or ultimately sit out a year before they can enter the National Basketball Association (NBA). Thus, the college game has become a “feeder system” similar to a minor professional league and it is in reality, “the only game in town.”

Point #2: Athletes Don’t Know the “Real” Deal

My colleague is partially correct in that most student athletes know that they are getting a scholarship that will allow them to go to school and play a sport. However, many don’t know the “real deal” as they generally have very little understanding they are about to enter a “plantation-like” system in which their scholarship in not guaranteed (i.e., renewable yearly) and can be terminated at any time. Student-athletes are also a led to believe that they will play and receive a college degree while possibly picking up a few fringe benefits along the way.

Take, for example, the recent stories regarding players like Reggie Bush, Cam Newton, or the players at Ohio State who received money and/or other benefits as a result of playing football. Even though student athletes know they will not get directly paid for playing, many desire and even expect some form of compensation. Slack (25) surveyed 3,500 current and retired football players in 1989 only to find that 31% had received under the table money during their college careers and 48% knew of others who had received payments. This seems to imply that while many recruits may indeed know “the deal”, they display their discontent by accepting payments or other benefits not currently allowed by the NCAA.

In reality, the statement “athletes know the deal” with regard to academic achievement and degree completion seems to lack substance. Dr. Nathan Tublitz, co-chair of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletes, an organization of 51 faculty senates whose purpose is to remind college presidents, athletic directors, and coaches that student athletes are students first. He points out that:

“…schools aren’t doing these kids any favors by admitting them when it’s unlikely that they will succeed academically. We bring 17 year-old kids, some of them from the inner city and we wine and dine them. They have female chaperones. We put them up in fancy hotels. They come here and see an incredibly fancy locker room with individual TV screens, air conditioning and videogames. They go in and see the new football stadium and the new $200 million basketball arena. They see a medical training facility that is stunningly beautiful with waterfalls, treadmill pools, and the sate-of-the-art medical and dental equipment. They come here and are treated like royalty. Until they break a leg or get put on the second string and they get set aside. Many don’t earn a degree. They don’t have the training or the skills to be independent after they leave the university. They’re lost (28, p.D10).”

When the scholarship is signed, the athlete and his family have reasonable expectations which include efforts by the coaching staff and university administration to meet all obligations of the contract. Additionally, my colleague notes, “that failure to honor the basic premise of any such contract would cause all forms of business – big or small – to crumble.” If the NCAA and athletic departments in higher education are a business, why are they allowed to act in a cartel-like fashion? And finally, do student athletes really know the “deal” when they penned their name on national signing day? It appears they don’t.

Point #3: The University Offers More than Education-It’s Possible-But Not Probable

Academic Detachment. My colleague also makes the claim that the university offers more than an education (e.g., concerts, lectures, intramurals, and clubs) in settings that enrich the college experience. Due to the plantation effect, however, many athletes are not able to take advantage of those events. For instance, few if any of the scholarship athletes would be allowed to play in an intramural contest for the coach’s fear of injury. Student athletes are also over-scheduled with study halls, practices, weight training sessions, film study, individual workouts, more practice, travel, and competition; all in an attempt to help athletes maintain focus on their sport.

Adler and Adler (1) spent five years recording systematic information regarding the athletes’ lives in a big-time college basketball program. After observing, interviewing, and traveling with them, they concluded that big-time basketball and being seriously engaged in academics were not compatible. They also found that freshmen had a period of optimism regarding academics when they first arrived on campus, but after about two semesters they found that the social isolation combined with the fatigue of training kept them from becoming involved in academic life.

Positive feedback these basketball players earned was always athletic-related and not academic. They soon learned what they had to do to stay eligible. Coaches made sure they scheduled classes that did not interfere with practices. Ultimately, the researchers realized that academic detachment was encouraged by the peer culture, and because of their social status (e.g., big man on campus), it became difficult for them to focus on academics.

Coakley (8) reported that not all of the athletes in the Adler & Adler (1) study experienced academic detachment. Those who entered college well-prepared with appropriate high school courses, strong parental support and an ability to develop relationships outside of sport were able to succeed in the classroom. It’s important to note that too many minority athletes from low socioeconomic environments struggle in academics – an issue that is often perpetuated by the coaches. For instance, Robert Smith, former running back for Minnesota Vikings and pre-med student while at Ohio State, needed two afternoon labs in the same semester. Since the labs conflicted with practice, coaches suggested that he drop them because of the commitment he made to play football. Against the wishes of the coaching staff, Smith took the classes but was forced to sit out the season as red shirt athlete; a further example of the plantation effect.

Benson (3) noted that one perspective was missing from the literature included a full expression from the black athletes point of view. Benson conducted a qualitative interview study of 12 African American students at a DI football program where the graduation rate was 31-40% for black football players compared to 60-70% of white football players. The results in this instance cannot be generalized due to the small sample size (N=12), but it does provide a snapshot of the thoughts regarding education and athletics of this group. Further, they reflect the results obtained by Adler & Adler (1).

Another major finding of the Benson (3) study was that the marginal academic performance was created by a series of interrelated practices engaged in by all significant members of the academic setting, including peers, coaches, advisors, teachers, and the student athletes themselves. It began in the recruitment, and continued through the first year. Black student athletes received the message that school was not important, and that as time passed, they had no real control over their destiny in the classroom. It was simply a matter of survival to keep the grade point average (GPA) to a point to be eligible. They all felt like the coaches did not “walk the talk” in terms of academics. They would just talk the academic game in public but then in reality they would have “fits” if classes ever interfered with the program. Simply put, student athletes learned it was a matter of survival and a basic expectation to maintain a GPA just high enough to remain eligible to compete (3).

“The Black Dumb Jock”. Harry Edwards (13) discussed the creation of the “black dumb jock” image prior to studies completed by Alder and Alder (1), Benson (3), and Coakley (8). He (i.e., Edwards) theorized that they were not born, but rather systematically created. The previous mentioned studies serve as evidence to support his statement (1, 3, 8). The exploitation of athletes is not solely an NCAA issue but a societal one. For example, Fred Butler was passed on through elementary, middle, and high school because he was a good football player. He graduated from high school reading at a second grade level and went to El Camino Junior College. There he took a number of physical activity classes while hoping to be drafted into the NFL. When no offer came, he played at California State University-Los Angeles for a year and a half. When again no offer came and his eligibility expired, he failed out of school within months with no degree, no offers to play pro ball, and no skills to use for employment. And he still could not read! (18). Similarly, Former NFL player Dexter Manley testified before a Senate Committee that he played four years at Oklahoma State University, only to leave the school illiterate. And the sad feature is that academic detachment from the university athletic department perspective doesn’t seem to be an issue because there are always more impoverished (and usually minority) kids waiting to come in and play.

Thus, student athletes in many cases cannot take advantage of the many extras offered by a college education. Why do athletes accept a diluted academic experience or the corruption of doctored transcripts, phantom courses, surrogate test takers, and tutors writing papers? Perhaps it is because they are disenfranchised under the current system, and will lose scholarships, starting roles, and eligibility if they complain. George Will argued that “College football and basketball are, for many players, vocations, not avocations, and academics are unsubstantiated rumors” (12, p.5). So do full scholarship athletes get a chance to take advantage of all the extras of the university experience? More than likely it is not the case especially when they can’t even hope for a meaningful degree.

NCAA as a Cartel. Kahn (16) examined the operation of the college football and basketball systems of the NCAA and offers lessons about the determinants and effects of supply and demand. Specifically he utilizes economic principles to calculate the value of college football player to a university. He notes that total ticket revenues for football and men’s basketball were $757 million in 1999, total value that exceeded the total ticket sales for all of professional baseball, football, and hockey that year. A figure indicating that the NCAA is a very successful business entity engaged in capitalism.

According to the cartel theory, the NCAA has “enforced collusive restrictions on payments for factors of production, including player compensation, recruiting expenses, and assistant coaches salaries; it has restricted output; and it has defeated potential rival groups (16, p. 211).” He notes, along with others (11, 15, 16, 30), that the NCAA can impose sanctions that range from scholarship reductions, elimination from post-season play to program death penalties (e.g., Southern Methodist football); and possibly even threaten a school’s academic accreditation. However, restriction of pay to players is the main way in which the organization acts to restrict competition.

Economists who have studied the NCAA “view it as a cartel that attempts to produce rents, both by limiting payments for inputs such as player compensation and by limiting output” (16, p.210). When looking at the rent values based on college football or men’s basketball players’ performances, they are paid below a competitive level of compensation based on estimates of marginal revenue product produced of these players (6). Their analysis considered the total revenue for a school and the number of players that were eventually drafted by a major professional league. Utilizing this framework they concluded that in 2005 dollars a draft-ready football player returned $495,000 to the university, while a draft-ready basketball player was worth $1.422 million for men’s basketball. And all of this compared to the approximately $40,000 paid in scholarship worth. This indicates that the NCAA does indeed use cartel power to pay top athletes less than the athlete’s market value.

Based on a workload of 1000 hours per year and an average scholarship value, economist Richard Sheehan (16) calculated the basic hourly wage of a college basketball player at $6.82 and a football player at $7.69. Coaches’ hourly wages, on the other hand, ranged from $250-$647 per hour (depending on salary). Again, using the Eitzen metaphor, the masters accumulate wealth at the slave’s expense, even though the athlete/slave’s health is jeopardized by participation (12).

Parent (23) notes the hypocrisy of the amateurism construct when looking at these capitalism issues. He notes that the former president of the University of Washington, William Gerberding, said, “As one contemplates the obvious fact that so many of the most gifted athletes are economically and educationally disadvantaged blacks, this becomes less and less defensible. I have become increasingly uncomfortable about having a largely white establishment maintaining an elaborate system of rules that deprives student-athletes, many of whom are non-white, of adequate financial support in the name of the ideals of amateurism” (p.236).

So, why do athletes tolerate this system? They do mainly because they are disenfranchised and fear losing their scholarships and eligibility if they complain. In essence, this pay-for-play discussion revolves around amateurism, as advertised by the NCAA, and its competing capitalistic drive for income. According to Tulsa Law School professor Ray Yasser, the best option for athletes to change the system for their benefit is to unite and “file an antitrust suit…against the NCAA and their universities, with the claim being that the NCAA and their universities are colluding to create a monopoly over the athlete’s ability to share in the profits generated from college athletics” (23, p.236).

While the points for maintaining the status quo were stated previously, there has been sufficient evidence presented in this section to stimulate discussion of paying players. The “play for a diploma” agreement is not happening in many cases, as the athlete failure rate indicates. Another example is national champion Connecticut men’s basketball program losing two scholarships for the upcoming season as a result of a poor Academic Performance Rating (APR) from the NCAA (11). Thus, the following pay for play proposals are being submitted for consideration.

Pay Proposals

It would appear that NCAA should get out of the commercial business of football and basketball and follow the Ivy League example of providing an environment that is truly amateur where student athletes actually are students first. That move would certainly place the student first in the student athlete term. However, it doesn’t seem pragmatic that either the NCAA or any of the major universities are in any hurry to turn away millions of dollars per year in profits. Therefore, it is time to consider some pay-for-pay proposals. California and Nebraska have already passed state legislation that would enable colleges to compensate athletes; however they are blocked by the NCAA from doing so (23). Therefore, I submit five proposals that could possibly be implemented:

    1. Big Ten Plan and/or Work Study Proposal: At the very least, the NCAA should follow former NCAA President Miles Brand’s suggestion and allocate athletes include a $2,000-$3,000 cost of living increase to full scholarships. Since athletes are supposedly only allowed to spend 20 hours per week involved with sport-related activities, this might actually be paid as 20 hours of work study or as a monthly living stipend. This would provide the athletes with the needed income for clothes, laundry, sundries, travel, and other small item expenses.
      Officials from the Big Ten are currently discussing a similar proposal that would help their athletes meet expenses not covered in an athletic scholarship. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany reports league athletic directors and university officials have seriously discussed using some of their growing TV revenue to pay athletes more. This proposal which would give athletes a $2,000-$5,000 per year living stipend also has the support of current NCAA president Mark Emmert (2).

 

    1. SEC Game Pay Proposal: The Southeastern Conference, another of the big time football conferences recently entered into the pay for play discussion. University of South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier put forth a proposal at the recent conference meetings to pay players $300 per game. The proposal was supported by several other coaches.
      This type of a proposal could pay athletes anywhere from $300-$1000 per game based on time played per game. Since most players do not play more than 30 minutes a game, a player could be paid on a per-minute of competition basis. At a rate of $20 per minute a player could net $600 for a game and approximately $6000-$7,000 per season.

 

    1. Professional League Proposal: Ron Woods (27) puts forth a proposal submitted by Peter Plagensa, visiting professor at Middlebury College, regarding the pay-for-play issue. He appears to agree with the likes of Stanley Eitzen that the current practice of colleges and the NCAA do in fact “amount to a little more than a plantation system” (27, p. 67). He suggests that the big time college football and basketball maintain the million-dollar industry by making them an age 23 and under professional league. This proposal would allow universities to hire players as college staff (much like the cafeteria or groundskeepers) at moderate salaries plus room and board. Universities could also grant the athletes free academic classes until they earn a degree (even after playing days are over).

 

    1. Revenue Sharing Proposal from TV/NCAA Proceeds:

      “College basketball players watch the coach roaming the sidelines in his $1,500 custom-make suit. They read about his $500.000 salary and $250,000 perk from a sneaker deal. They watch the schools sell jerseys (and T-shirts) with the player’s numbers on them. They see the athletic director and NCAA officials getting rich and you wonder why they might ask; hey where’s my share? What am I, a pack mule” (17, p.46)

      Tim Tebow related on the Daily Show (26) that he joked with his college coach prior to a national championship game about getting a cut of his bonus money to ensure a victory. This brings another revenue sharing possibility to the surface: coaches sharing their bonuses and other performance incentives with the players.
      Most coaches in big time programs are paid huge bonuses based on team record and ranking, all a result of player performance. For instance, according to 2009 IRS income tax reports, Mike Krzyewski received $2,222,543 in bonuses and incentives (4). Coaches under this proposal would be required to share 25-50% of their bonuses with the players. Isn’t it reasonable to expect the athletes to get a cut of the bonus money? After all, they (i.e., the players) are the ones who put the coaches in a position to earn those bonuses.

 

My colleague has argued in point #2 that paying athletes raise a myriad of other issues, such as how much should they receive, what happens if an athlete gets hurt, and so on. That is a discussion for another time. First, we must agree that it is fair to compensate NCAA Division I football and basketball athletes beyond that of an athletic scholarship; then and only then may payout details be chronicled. Note: a reminder that we are only discussing compensation for the NCAA Division I-A football and basketball players; not the athletes in the AAU, Little League or other truly amateur venues of organized sport.

Summary

Throughout the history of the NCAA, college athletes have routinely received compensation beyond that of a full college scholarship (e.g., room and board, tuition, books). While such compensation is illegal, athletes like Reggie Bush and others receive under-the-table benefits as evidenced in the Slack survey (25).

Additionally, many athletes in “big time” programs do not receive a degree for their efforts in the athletic arena. Universities routinely admit students based on their athletic skills that are academically ill-prepared for success. As seen in the research (1, 3), many athletes that aspire to be academically successful soon lose hope with the over-scheduling and pressures of sport preparation. As a result, many college athletes, a majority of which are minorities, fail out of school once coaches have utilized their eligibility.

The NCAA functions like a cartel, keeping cost down while increasing profits. Rents for a draft-ready athlete earn the university somewhere between $500,000 for football and $1.422 million for men’s basketball (16), leading to a pseudo-plantation system where the coaches oversee the athletes demanding work and controlling their schedules on and off the field. This unbalanced system allows athletes to earn the equivalent of $6.80-$7.69 an hour (12) while coaches like Nick Saban of Alabama or Mack Brown of Texas earn over five million dollars a year (4).

If the NCAA continues as a corporate entity and acting in a cartel-like fashion making millions of dollars a year, implementing a plan to pay student athletes for playing must be considered. Otherwise, America’s institutions of higher learning should follow the Ivy League schools’ example and eliminate athletic scholarships, get out of the big time sport business, and get on with providing students with a complete educational experience.

Applications in Sport

Few discussions within sport are more common or controversial than the debate to pay college athletes. Some arguments are well thought and articulated, while others lack insight and are simply driven by passion. The purpose of this article is to provide the reader with a new perspective and some historical insight – all supported by the literature – regardless of their stance on this issue. Moreover, readers who may actually be heard by the NCAA may offer a position that has yet to be considered. The concession here is that despite any decision by the NCAA in the near future, we can be assured that college administrators, coaches, and athletes will continue this debate. However, their arguments may now be seen as relevant and more reasoned.

POSTSCRIPT: According to Michelle B. Hosick at the NCAA.org, the NCAA board of directors has moved on two issues discussed in this article since its submission. In April (2012), the board moved to implement a $2,000 allowance to an athlete’s full scholarship. They also voted to grant multi-year scholarships. However, both measures have been put on hold with the threat of an override vote by member institutions. On January 14, 2012 at the NCAA convention the board delayed implementation of the $2,000 supplement and sent it back to committee for revision at its April meeting. The multi-year scholarship issue will continue to be implemented on a conference-by-conference basis. And so the pay-for-play discussion continues.

References

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2015-01-31T01:14:13-05:00June 15th, 2012|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Coaching, Sports Facilities, Sports Management|Comments Off on Point/Counterpoint: Paying College Athletes