Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

Scott Miller

6/10: College Sports as Big Business

On Monday, we’ll consider some of the recent developments involving the NCAA and its relationship with colleges (mostly Division 1 ones), “big sport” athletics (where there are lots of fans and big revenue streams), and “small sport” athletics (which attract smaller audiences and income).

To get us started, here’s a detailed write-up from one of our regular participants:

There has been a flurry of recent litigation and settlements involving the NCAA. Why, and what is the impact?

The NCAA was established in 1906 at the encouragement of then President Teddy Roosevelt to develop rules to promote the safety of college football after a number of deaths in that sport.  At its outset no student representing a college in sports was to be paid.  Since that time, this not-for-profit organization and its affiliated not for profit member schools have become a multibillion-dollar business. In the 2021 Supreme Court decision of ‘NCAA v. Alston’ the court ruled against the narrow subset of rules involving education related benefits (Scholarship and Name Image and Likeness, NIL, compensation).  But Justice Kavanaugh’s concurrence noted that other restrictions, likely to be antitrust, remained unresolved, stating: “The NCAA’s business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America.”   He even delineated the issues to be resolved in such an anticipated case: 20-512_gfbh.pdf (  (This opinion gives a concise history of college sports and the NCAA.)

In this regard recently this week, in further litigation ‘House v. NCAA’ a multibillion-dollar settlement was reached in which the NCAA would compensate for past restrictions and agree to some sort of revenue sharing in the future:  College athletes set to get $2.8 billion, revenue-sharing model in landmark House v. NCAA settlement –

Also related, the NCAA agreed to remove its eligibility penalty rule for students who transfer to another school:  NCAA settlement will allow transfer students immediate eligibility with their new schools (

Justice Kavanaugh himself recognized the difficult policy and practical problems: “How would paying greater compensation to student athletes affect non-revenue-raising sports? (Would the Olympic sports in colleges be defunded?) Could student athletes in some sports but not others receive compensation? How would any compensation regime comply with Title IX (equality of women’s sports)?  And given that there are now about 180,000 Division I student athletes, what is a financially sustainable way of fairly compensating some or all of those student athletes? Of course, those difficult questions could be resolved in ways other than litigation. Legislation would be one option. Or colleges and student athletes could potentially engage in collective bargaining.”  The NCAA is apparently hoping to pursue the legislative exemption to the antitrust problem similar to what was done with Major League Baseball and the NFL.  (How did that work?)

In addition, the NCAA quietly announced that its gender policy “remains under review”, presumably in response to recent litigation this year from both sides of that issue.

We can discuss the impact of all of the NCAA litigation, in addition to the broader implications we have touched on before: What is the role of sports at a university?  As a society, have we lost confidence in institutions and our community organizations to set rules and boundaries of behavior?

Here are three other resources he identified:

Clean Energy Transition Hiccups

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss some of the challenges facing the “clean energy” transition. We’ll start with the focus of the following two articles:

And we’ll probably drift from there into other clean energy transition challenges.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll even touch on the Trump convictions…but the press and pundits may have already said pretty much all there is to say.

May 13: China

President Xi’s recent trip to Europe and the passage of new Tik Tok legislation, we decided it’s a good time to revisit “China.”

It started with this suggestion:

“What were the objectives of Xi Jinping’s grand European tour, and did he achieve them?”

Chinese President Xi’s trip to Europe: ‘Charm offensive’ or canny bid to divide the West? (

When Xi publicly embraced Putin after the start of the Ukraine war he inadvertently unleashed the unintended consequence of uniting the European and U.S. interests in mutual fear of China as a geopolitical as well as economic threat.  His European tour is an attempt to reverse that disastrous (for Xi) consequence.  How well will he succeed in reestablishing the divide between Europe and U.S. – between western Europe and eastern Europe?  

Closer to home, the TikTok “ban” has been getting a lot of press (TikTok faces toughest challenge yet with lawsuit against divest-or-ban bill | The Hill).

And there continue to be regional frictions between China and its maritime neighbors (Malaysia’s appetite for oil and gas puts it on collision course with China | Washington Post)

  • Subscribe via Email

    Receive email notification of new posts/announcements about our weekly meeting.

    Join 241 other subscribers
  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments