Division one college athletics, the illustrious promise-land of high school athletes across the nation, serves as the driving goal for many young competitors. A select few will be talented enough to advance to the professional leagues, but for most, college is their time to live in the limelight and it is often the very peak of their athletic career. Yet the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) holds strict enforcements and regulations against college athletes receiving any kind of payments or endorsements for their performance on the playing field. It is shocking when you look into the large summations of money brought into a college by athletes who attract a lot of attention, huge crowds, and rocketing jersey sales.
For example, in 2014 the University of Michigan Men’s Basketball team brought in a profit of over 3.5 million dollars to the school. The same year Michigan sold the pants worn by Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson in the Notre Dame game for $1,300. Obviously due to strict NCAA rules, Robinson never got any portion of that money, which instead went directly to the university. What does this say about the NCAA? Anyone who has read “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels might claim that they are running a system based on Marxism as it is defined in this book.
Communism as Marx discusses it is the removal of all property, as well as the disappearance of government institutions. In his normative political theory, Marx also promotes the advocacy of socialism where the government ultimately has control of everything including the even distribution of materials. Clearly one can see how this relates to the NCAA not allowing college athletes to make any profits, thus keeping them all on the exact same level. Players whom are perhaps more deserving of profit, even if just based solely on larger numbers of jersey sales, are not allowed to capitalize on this. This regulation can become extremely disadvantageous for those division-one college athletes who can go no further with their athletic career and have now surpassed their prime money earning opportunity.
Marx also wrote that, “In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat… a class of laborers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labor increases capital. These laborers…are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market”. This quote speaks directly to many college athletes, who for all intents and purposes, feel as if they are commodities in the eyes of the school they represent. Recruitment season is simply large universities searching for their newest product, a product that will generate for them the greatest profit, just like the capitalists that Marx describes.
Many people who are frustrated with this strict system enforced by the NCAA will have no qualms with labeling it “a communist league”, not allowing the standout players to truly be stars.