Of course they are.
The College Sports Cartel - NYTimes.com
Yet, in Indianapolis a few weeks from now, a home-grown cartel will hold its annual meeting, where it, too, will be working to collude and fix prices. This cartel is the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The N.C.A.A. would have you believe that it is the great protector of amateur athletics, preventing college athletes from being tainted by the river of money pouring over college sports.
In fact, the N.C.A.A.’s real role is to oversee the collusion of university athletic departments, whose goal is to maximize revenue and suppress the wages of its captive labor force, a k a the players. Rarely, however, will the cartel nature of the N.C.A.A. be so nakedly on display as at this year’s convention.
In The Times Magazine this weekend, I lay out a proposal to pay the players in the two big revenue sports, college football and men’s basketball, something the N.C.A.A. won’t countenance. In the course of my reporting, I gained a new appreciation for the cartel characteristics of sports leagues.
Sports leagues can’t exist without at least some collusion. As Andy Schwarz, an economist and litigation consultant, puts it, “If steel companies got together to decide when and where to produce steel, that would violate the antitrust laws. But if sports teams in a league get together to decide when and where to play games, that’s generally allowed.” Major League Baseball has long had an antitrust exemption; other professional leagues have salary caps, which are legal because they have been agreed to by the players.
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