Since its establishment under President Theodore Roosevelt, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has been the administrative and coordinating body of college sports. Virtually unknown to the rest of the world, the NCAA, its policies and intransigence have been a focal source of controversy regarding the image rights of student athletes in the US largely because the NCAA has been at the epicentre of every reaction against the professionalization of college sports. Some see it as an attempt to maintain the balance of power and safeguard against the exploitation of college sports, while others see it as nothing more than a multimillion-dollar institution seeking to maintain its own power and grip on student-athletes.
Up until recently, the NCAA has managed to defeat initiatives that aimed at altering the status quo, but in recent years it has become increasingly difficult to push back against change. This month we explore the new developments in the American collegiate athletics landscape and the importance for education with respect to image rights in light of these developments. We also put particular emphasis on what that means for female athletes. But first, we start by exploring the revival of the old debate about financial compensation for athletes and their right to commercialize their sports persona.
Athena P. Constantinou