The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), particularly men’s basketball and football, has seen massive growth in its revenue and popularity. Because of this, the NCAA has also been accused of exploiting the “Big-Time” student-athletes that generate the revenue. This thesis has extended this aforementioned accusation by examining the notion of amateurism employed as misguided and arbitrary. However, the appeal to amateurism as a ground to continue the current form of collegiate sports are not sufficient as it leads to exploitation. In addition to this, methods in psychology were used to examine some of the arguments and positions provided from multiple perspectives. This study included personality measures such as Belief in a Just World (BJW), Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA), and Support for Affirmative Action (SAA), which were used to examine participants’ support for increased compensation.

Image framing manipulations assessed the effect of racial attitudes on support with increased compensation. It is hypothesized that higher scores on BJW and RWA will correlate with lower support for increased compensation, while higher scores on SAA will correlate with higher support for increased compensation. Results indicated that RWA and BJW were not correlated with levels of support, while SAA was correlated. Black athletes received more average support than White athletes, and Division III student-athletes indicated less average support than non-student-athletes. Exploitation of “Big-Time” student-athletes should influence society to make the changes necessary to alleviate the problem, and future studies should look to incorporate the conclusions from the philosophical analysis into more robust psychological research.


Clayton, Susan

Second Advisor

Schiltz, Elizabeth


Philosophy; Psychology


Applied Ethics | Social Psychology | Sports Studies


exploitation, amateurism, college sports, belief in a just world, compensation, attitudes

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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