Create a Professional College Sports League


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What is one thing you would do to fix college sports?

How to Fix College Sports I would encourage the development of a super-power structure, sooner rather than later, with the end result being the creation of what would be akin to a professional league for the big-time college sports of football and men's basketball. Such a step could conceivably result in the clarity necessary to distinguish what financial model is appropriate for colleges that wish to operate athletics within an educational context versus athletics within a highly commercialized profit-seeking context.

This will require, in my view, that the super powers leave the NCAA, and in the process, leave behind the façade that their activities are related to the mission of higher education. At the same time, this will leave a greatly altered, but much more focused and effective, NCAA. While the NCAA has asserted repeatedly that amateurism is the pillar of its enterprise, the plain fact of the matter is that even within the NCAA there is a different definition of amateurism for each division. Notably, the most restrictive one exists at the Division I level which is designed to protect the NCAA's economic engine. It is here we see that when business and educational interests collide, the business of college sport wins out. And the business of college sport is no place for amateurs, as Los Angeles Times writer Chris Dufresne pointed out earlier this month when he wrote that the nature of power plays occurring within major conferences were not "collegial" but "cut-throat".

In the alternative, if the system remains as is and cannot find a way to let pros be pros, it appears that intervention from the Federal government is warranted because college sport officials seem unable to regulate the business they are in.

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Ellen J. Staurowsky is a professor in Drexel University's Department of Sport Management and is co-author of the book College Athletes for Hire: The Evolution and Legacy of the NCAA Amateur Myth. More

Ellen J. Staurowsky is a full professor in the Department of Sport Management at Drexel University. She is internationally recognized as an expert on social justice issues in sport which include gender equity and Title IX, pay equity and equal employment opportunity, the exploitation of athletes, the faculty role in reforming college sport, representation of women in sport media, and the misappropriation of American Indian imagery in sport.

She is co-author of the book College Athletes for Hire: The Evolution and Legacy of the NCAA Amateur Myth. In addition to publications in scholarly journals such as the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Sociology of Sport Journal, Quest, Journal of Sport Management, the International Journal of Sport Sociology, the Marquette Sports Law Review, the Journal of Legal Aspects of Sport, and the International Journal of Sport History, her critiques and analyses on a variety of issues have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, The NCAA News, The New York Times, Athletic Management Magazine, and News From Indian Country.

Dr. Staurowsky has received numerous honors over the years. Temple University recognized Dr. Staurowsky with a Young Alumna Achievement Award in 1998 and in 2005 she was presented with an Excellence in Professional Performance Award. She has been named to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers on numerous occasions and she is a recipient of a Faculty Appreciation Award from students at Ithaca College. In 2002, she received the Ithaca College Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship. In 2005, Dr. Staurowsky received the Ithaca College Office of Multicultural Affairs Appreciation Award and the IC Feminists Woman of Achievement Award in 2006. In December of 2008, she was named the first recipient of the National Residence Hall Honorary (NHRR – Ithaca) Faculty Member of the Month. Recognized with the Darlene Kluka Women’s Sports Foundation’s Research Award in 2008, Dr. Staurowsky was also honored that same year with a Presidential Award from the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport. In 2009, Dr. Staurowsky received the Ithaca College Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2010 and 2011, she received the Ithaca College HSHP Dean’s Awards for Excellence. In 2011, she was also awarded the Loughlin Award by Ursinus College. Dr. Staurowsky is frequently sought after for interviews to discuss contemporary sport issues.

She has made several appearances on ESPN Outside the Lines, ESPN Classic, ESPN Cold Pizza, and Public Broadcasting’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. Staurowsky served as a director of athletics at the college level for nine years and previous to that was a college coach in the sports of field hockey, men’s soccer, and women’s lacrosse.

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