Ethics paper on NCAA

 

Dominic BracyPhil 160 EssayNCAA Ethics Paper   The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is an organization that is responsible for the health and long-term success of their
collegiate athletes. The NCAA is comprised of 1,121 colleges and 99 voting athletic conferences. Although the NCAA is very big and has the
attention of a ton of people, this does not stop the organization of committing unethical practices. In my paper I will discuss how the
ethical complication that arises are two very big issues in collegiate sports at the present time and that is the non salary payments to the
athletes  and the exploitation off the athletes despite the billions of dollars in profits that the NCAA intakes annually off of their
athletes names. The issue of fairness, autonomy and social responsibility comes into play when looking at the exploitation of the athletes.
The normative theory I believe best resolves this issue is deontology which states that there is no justifying a means to an end and that
certain acts such as lying are wrong in and of themselves independently of their consequences.         The NCAA posses an enormous amount of control over the young men and women they oversee and they exercise that power to exploit
their unrecognized labor force and generate billions of dollars in revenue, while restricting the amount of compensation the athlete receive
to a figure that is well below what a free market will bring. My case study for this paper is none other than Johnny Manziel who is better
known around the globe as Johnny football. In a study that was done by Texas A&M it was found that Manziel generated 37 million dollars from
media exposure during his freshmen year alone at Texas a &M. After his play in his freshmen year the name Johnny football stuck with him and
he later fled to have the name trademarked. But the NCAA tried to step in and cited that under their regulations that Manziel is not
entitled to one cent of the money he generated for them that season. He in turn sued the NCAA and the NCAA later closed the loophole that
allowed the athletes to trademark their name and is compensated. The big question is why would the NCAA fight tooth and nail to stop a kid
who maybe from a low income background to be fairly compensated but would cover up scandals in order to keep their schools sports prestige
to the highest degree. For example the scandal at Penn state  involving jerry Sandusky and his molesting of kids at a camp that was covered
up for year and was just recently bout to the general public’s attention because many people inside the program were aware of it and stated
they “tried” to alert the proper channels.        From a deontologist prospective an individual will focus his attention on the moral principles as duties. Individuals have moral
duties to do things that are right to do and moral duties not to do things that are wrong to do and to a deontologist whether something is
right or wrong doesn’t depend on consequences but rather whether an action is right or wrong in itself. For example if someone is a parent
they have a moral duty to provide for their child.  Not paying an individual who on most accounts are sacrificing their health and a
majority of their time is wrong in itself and using them as a means to generate large sums of money for your school is unfair, which leads
to the issue of fairness. Fairness is acknowledged as fulfilling an individual’s agreed upon role in a just system. James Schulman adds
“fairness requires treating equally individuals in the same circumstances and avoiding undeserved favoritism”. No it is unreasonable for
each individual to expect fair wage in return for their services rendered but a most honorable estimation of a D 1 football scholarship
value over a full 4 year stint is around 230,000 thousand dollars. But all of that money is tied up in the costs that are associated with
the school like room, board, tuition and fees. But the university however can expect to rake in annually anywhere from 80 million to 400
million dollars and in that scenario an athlete is receiving under one percent of the revenue they are clearly responsible for producing and
you must ask yourself is it unreasonable of them to ask for a little more? According to World Renowned deontologist theorist Immanuel’s Kant
formula of the categorical imperative he says  “for rational beings all stand under the law that every one of them ought to treat itself and
other never merely as a means, but always at the same time as end in itself”. The meaning of that statement is that rational individuals are
not prohibited from using one another to achieve their goals in life but, they must not use another merely as a means to achieve their own
ends. If you treat an individual merely as a means you fail to respect that person rational nature. Immanuel Kant is speaking for basic
respect of individuals and for my paper example the NCAA and universities are using the athletes as merely as a means to generate revenue.
As noted the health and well being of the athletes are not a concern to the powers that is the NCAA. There will always be stream of athletes
coming through the college system which ensures that the talent will never be dry and if you add this with a scarcity of alternatives for
the athletes it is observed that the athletes are being solely being used for generating streams of money for them. But fairness not only
stops there. The NCAA can and does enforce violations and suspensions for anything they deem to be a severe violation. For example A.J green
who is now in the NFL attended the University of Georgia a few years back and he was suspended for a total of four games for the selling of
his jersey. A former Ohio state running back by the name of Daniel Herron was suspended 5 games in 2010 for selling his jersey, pants, and
shoes for $1000 which was the same amount of green. In the issue of fairness we must ask why Herron was given a 5 game suspension and green
was only assessed four. But Herron was allowed to participate in a All state sugar bowl game as were fellow other violating star players on
the team. Was he allowed to play because the school was participating in a bowl game that is unlike any other game that is sure to generate
far more money because it is nationally televised? If we continue with fairness when green attended Georgia his jersey was for sale varying
from 60 to 150 dollars. If we are talking about fairness that would involve green receiving some if not most of the money generated from his
name that university is selling or be allowed to sell his jersey on his own. A question can be posed that would green or Herron be suspended
if they sold their televisions? But because they in coincidently play college sports he is not allowed to sell their own property. Perhaps
if they were being paid some wages they would not have to sell.        If we allow ourselves to look at the aspect of autonomy the system that is the NCAA fails the moral requirements of deontology as
well. Playing college football or basketball is a voluntary sport. An issue comes into play when we focus in on with in football there are
not legitimate alternatives for the individuals whose ultimate goal is to play in the NFL. Yes there are other leagues such as the arena
league but those are not realistic thoughts for an 18 year old whose ultimate goal is to pursue an opportunity to play in the NFL. The other
leagues do not receive the same media exposures that even some of the worst college programs do. Player autonomy is also inhibited by the
rules that are imposed by the NCAA when they restrict what players can do with their meaning of their property. But it also extends to
transfer rules. When athletes decide that a university is not the right fit anymore transfer rues restrict them from attending a university
they so wish to transfer to by having them sit out minimum year. An athlete who may aspire to play for a certain coach may get that dream
crushed if said coach leaves for a better opportunity and in order to follow that coach the athlete must surrender 1 year of his eligibility
to follow his desire.      If we were to switch views and examine this issue to a virtue ethicists or a utilitarianism aspect we will see a slightly different
take on things. A utilitarian theory would say that there are no acts that are wrong in and of themselves and that if actions such as
killing or torturing are wrong it is because they produce less good than other alternatives that are available to that person. If we were to
more closely examine the differences between the two theories is to a deontologist individual such as Kant there is a presumption against
certain kind of actions. To a utilitarian not paying the athletes is for the good of everyone involved because they university provide the
necessary training and exposure to coaching to advance to the professional level where you may earn plenty more than at the collegiate level
and they taking the risk. To a utilitarian that ends justifies the mean which sees the athlete go to the professional level and making
millions of dollars because of the coaching and proper training they received from the collegiate level.  A utilitarian view may examine the
issue and argue a deontologist and ask that is the act of not paying the athlete inherently wrong? On face value the answer is no  because
they can argue that the college athletes are like any employee that is working for them in the sense that the employee performs services for
a settled wage, so they are not using the employee as a mere means. A virtue ethicist theorist views things as doing the right things for
the right reasons. The right thing for the universities and the NCAA would be to pay its athletes because it would be the morally right
thing to do. An athlete schedule is one that is hectic because it involves practices going to class with the expectation of doing well in
order to compete and their individual weight room sessions. With the games and traveling included that is an enormous amount of burden on a
young person to juggle. A majority of the college athletes come from low income families so with the schedules they carry they cannot go out
and obtain a regular working job to receive money.  The morally right thing to do of the NCAA is to be fair and reward the athletes in good
faith with some kind of reimbursement. A virtue ethicist would argue that yes the paying of the collegiate athletes would be the right thing
to do but the action of generating money off of  an athlete is not wrong.           To defend our position on why deontology would be best served we also have to examine why they would believe the other theories are
wrong in this case. A deontologist would argue right back that the athletes are not employee but are just students who happen to compete in
an athletic way for your university. In a greatest happiness principle theory a deontologist can argue that the only persons who are happy
is the universities and NCAA because they are raking in ridiculous amounts of money and athletes who bleed, and sweat for the program are
suffering because they cannot gain any outside money, they are so suffering so that act is wrong no matter the justifying of the actions.
Below show the rate of exploitation of football player at big time college programs. It shows just how unfairly these athletes are being
treated by the individuals who are tasked with looking out for them. College Rate of exploitation College Revenue Expense Per AthleteTexas 247116% Texas 103,813,684 42,010Michigan 184907% Michigan 85,209,247 46,082Alabama 202899% Alabama 81,993,762 40,411Auburn 239117% Auburn 77,170,242 32,272Georgie 147651% Georgie 74,989,418 50,788Florida 141458% Florida 74,117,435 52,395Notre Dame 154598% Notre Dame 68,986,659 44,623LSU 298228% LSU 68,804,309 23,071Penn State 280279% Penn State 66,210,503 23,632Arkansas 126605% Arkansas 64,193,826 50,704              To a deontologist that act of making so much money off of them vs. the little expenses they carry that action is just wrong.       In conclusion in my paper we closely examined the principles of autonomy, fairness, and respect for person that are abundantly clear
that college athletes are being exploited in a vicious way in an unjust system that needs to change. I discussed how believe that deontology
best resolved the dilemma because the powers that be are using the athletes as a means to an end for the good of their universities are just
plain wrong no matter how they try to justify it by saying it is just like an employee employer relationship. An employer does not grossly
underpay an employee the way that the NCAA does it students with the large amounts of money that is ultimately produced by the athletes vs.
their respective expenses tied  to the school. The system is clearly is not geared toward the fairness of the athletes and is a system that
needs to change so it would not be such a detriment to its athletes or this will be an issue that will continue to have a dark cloud over
the organization.