To Be or Not to Be

Robert D. Tollison

in The Oxford Handbook of Sports Economics

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780195387773
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 To Be or Not to Be

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This chapter explores the various aspects of the analysis of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as a cartel, using the economic theory of cartels to study the institutional practices of the NCAA with respect to its regulation of student-athletes. The NCAA's unique qualities do not require a different kind of economic analysis, only careful application of the appropriate and existing analysis. The NCAA provides a useful setting for applications and tests of cartel theory. The available evidence of price fixing, output controls, compensation of athletes below their marginal-revenue products (MRPs), the absence of regulation of brand-name and capital assets, and so on, taken together, indicate cartel behavior. The linkage between academics and athletics is probably the real source of the NCAA's cartel power. The enforcement process is predictably carried out to benefit traditional winners in college football, and there is no easy way to break down the cartel.

Keywords: NCAA; economic theory; cartel theory; athletes; marginal-revenue products; academics; athletics

Article.  4082 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Industry Studies ; Public Economics

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