Communism/Socialism and the NCAA

Within the NCAA, and particularly within the highest “Football Bowl Subdivision” the differences between the programs at the top and the programs at the bottom are nothing short of large. The funding, resources, and location of schools like Alabama or Florida State compared to schools like Marshall or Central Michigan is almost comical when you consider that these teams could potentially play each other. College football as it is now is one of the greatest spectacles our country, has to offer, but it’s worth thinking about what college football would be like if it were based on socialist or communist principles.

In a study conducted in the past couple years by USA today, it was determined that the total revenue of the athletic department at the University of Texas- Austin was a staggering $165,691,486. In contrast, a school like Texas Tech — who competes in the same Big XII conference in the FBS — has a total revenue of just $72,917,990. Many people don’t consider that some schools are competing with other universities with over twice the revenue towards athletics as others. Another advantage some schools have compared to others is location. Some states for various reasons produce many more pro football players than others. A study done by Sporting News, they found that the states of California, Florida, and Texas  produced 225, 186, and 184 players respectively. The state with the most NFL players after these three was Georgia with 95. The high number of great football players from these states also gives universities in these areas an advantage as they are geographically closer to so much talent.

The list could carry on and on about how the playing field isn’t level for all the teams in FBS college football. However, an interesting way to look at this could be how to level the playing field from a communist or socialist perspective. From Marx and Engels Communist Manifesto, the main principle is not having any private property or institutions. Communist principles just aren’t realistic in college athletics, but socialistic principles could be looked at more realistically. One way to level the playing field for college football could be NCAA regulation of literally everything. Socialism dictates that the government controls all means of production. In the socialist version of college football, the NCAA could regulate and set a cap for the spending of each program that competes with each other. They would decide what the programs were allowed to spend their money on and the kinds of resources they would be allowed to have. In an extreme measure, the NCAA could potentially allow teams more funding or resources if their team was really struggling to compete. These sorts of measures could be similar to salary caps in professional sports in keeping things competitive and allowing all teams a chance to win. Regulations like these are in no way realistic, but are interesting to think about when you think about how competitive the college football landscape would be.

Michigan Stadium

Michigan Stadium