On the Courts & Fields
What is the NEOPLANTATION system that lives within PWI college athletics?
“[NCAA] is firmly committed to the neoplantation belief that the enormous proceeds from games belong to the overseers (the administrators) and supervisors (coaches). The plantation workers performing in the arena may receive only those benefits authorized by the overseers.”
Walter Byers, first executive director of the NCAA.
The so-called plantation workers are the Black student athletes that make up the majority of basketball and football teams at PWIs.
The overseers and supervisors, who are the coaches and directors, are mainly white.
Source: CBS Sports
The demographic statistics of student-athletes and coaches are almost a complete inverse, which highlights the White power and dominance.
The neoplantation system suggests collegiate sports are a much bigger game — rooted in economic activity and oppression with white individuals reaping the main benefits and economic gains of Black labor, similar to the times of slavery.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
The NCAA makes over a billion dollars a year, with unpaid basketball players as the main attraction.
From the networks, universities, commissioners and coaches, each party gains some financial payout. College athletes receive nothing — and without Black college athletes, colleges would not even attract as much attention, exposure, and money as they do.
Black college athletes remain exploited and are unable to make money off their own success, due to the NCAA’s principle of amateurism. To maintain ammature status and to be eligible to play, athletes are not allowed to receive any money or gifts based on their own name, image or likeness.
There has been controversy in response to this principle. In the last few years, changes have been pushed for. In September 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act which allows college athletes to hire agents and make money from endorsements, effective 2023. With the law only in California, more progress is being worked on to impact the entire conference. Since December 2020, bipartisan bills have been introduced to the House of Representatives to force the NCAA to change their bylaws and permit all college athletes capitalize on their name, image, and likeness.