NCAA Rules and Regulations
Amateur athletes are defined by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) as “Student-athletes shall be amateurs in an intercollegiate sport, and their participation should be motivated primarily by education and by the physical, mental and social benefits to be derived” (Shropshire & Davis, 2008, pg. 117-118). If an athlete does not abide by these rules throughout his/her educational and athletic career in college, their ‘amateur’ status can be lost. Traditionally, the amatuer status was designed for the student athlete to maintain their primary focus towards their education, while having the ability to split their time engaging in school sports. Once an athlete has accepted an athletic scholarship, that athlete must comply with the NCAA rules.
Breaking the Rules
What happens when an athlete accepts money during their amateur years by either accepting into a contract with a sport agent or receives benefits from elsewhere? That athlete simply forfeits their position as an amateur athlete in college. Requirements of this status may change among the different collegiate associations (NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA). Take for example, Kyle Parker who was the star baseball and football athlete for Clemson University, in South Carolina. He was offered a whopping $1.4 Million dollar signing bonus to play baseball for the Colorado Rockies’. Clemson fans, coaches, and athletes held on tight with excitement the year he decided to pass on the large pay check to remain an amateur athlete at Clemson. When one athlete is given permission to bend NCAA rules, “it weakens the respectability as a middle-class or upper-class institution” (Shropshire & Davis, 2008, pg. 122). Afterall, how unpromising does that look for the present and future athletes.
Amateur athletes are ones who take participation in sports for the impulses, satisfaction, exercise and training motives, as well as social pleasure among team athletes. These athletes do not play for any form of compensation or payout, and their overall education is the main focus of their future as an athlete for their university. An athlete like Kyle Parker who is given the opportunity to play professional sports and receive a signing bonus, all the while keeping the status as an ‘amateur, breaks all of the rules, and should be forfeited immediately from any NCAA institution. This athlete has lost the amateur status and becomes professional. Professional athletes are those who engage in sports for all of the same reasons as an amateur athlete including acceptance of spectators of interest and material or economic advantages and financial compensation for living. Regardless of one’s personal beliefs for or against NCAA rules, an athlete should always adhere to these rules while engaging in collegiate sport.
Shropshire, K.L. & Davis, T. (2008). The business of sports agents (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.