Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2024

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Tyler Custis

Second Advisor

Mandie Weinandt

Third Advisor

Jamie Oyen


Student-Athlete, NCAA, Employment Law, Labor Relations

Subject Categories

Antitrust and Trade Regulation | Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law | Labor and Employment Law | Labor Relations | Law and Economics | Sports Management


In light of recent administrative developments urging the classification of student-athletes as employees, litigation challenging the current status of student-athletes, and the Supreme Court’s willingness to tackle National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) issues, many questions surrounding the future of college sports under an employment model have emerged. The authors analyzed key litigation, recent developments from administrative agencies, and academic literature. Then publicly available data was used from the NCAA, the United States Department of Labor (DOL), and other sources to construct two estimates of what it would cost the NCAA member institutions to treat their Division I athletes as employees. The GOALS Hours model shows that paying student-athletes for all the athletic hours they report in season would be significantly more expensive than what the NCAA currently spends on athletic student aid. The NCAA Hours model shows that paying student-athletes minimum wage for only the hours allowed under current NCAA rules could be a reasonable option for the NCAA in terms of total costs. The authors considered different cost-management strategies and likely outcomes for the NCAA under both models.



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