August 25. 2013 10:51PM

Sweatshop: The NCAA abuses athletes


The National Collegiate Athletic Association might revoke Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s college eligibility. The Heisman Trophy winner’s offense? He is alleged to have sold his autograph. Welcome to the NCAA’s sweatshop.

To guarantee that student athletes are amateurs, the NCAA forbids them from engaging in the “promotion or sale of a product or service.” That includes their own autographs. It also includes their own likenesses. A college player cannot sell his own image on a T-shirt or even use it to market himself. The NCAA gets that money. To use students’ names and likenesses, video game makers pay the NCAA, not students.

The NCAA says these rules prevent students from being corrupted by cash. What they really do is reserve for the NCAA itself most revenue (some goes to the universities) from the students’ athletic endeavors.

The NCAA is abusing these students. The amateurism restrictions amount to a sort of indentured servitude. They have to go.