IC in the Media

Ellen Staurowsky, professor of sport management and an internationally recognized expert on social justice issues in sport, weighed in to and the Birmingham News (Alabama) in early April on a controversial proposal to give Division I NCAA colleges more freedom to let corporate sponsors use student-athletes for commercial purposes. Currently, the NCAA bars companies from using an athlete’s name, image, or likeness in advertisements, promotions, or other ventures. Some students feel cheated because they receive little more than one-year-only renewable scholarships while their schools leverage athletes’ fame to attract advertising revenue and profit from merchandise sales.

To, Staurowsky suggests that the NCAA is interested in keeping the “demarcation between the athlete and the professional. The rules are structured to protect athletes from commercial interests, but the rules can be read a different way,” she said.

Staurowsky believes that students already have a difficult time understanding their rights. Her survey of 213 Division I compliance officers found that student-athletes are often misled about the forms they are asked to sign concerning eligibility and commercial interests.