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Constitutional FAQ Answer #77

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Q77. "Is it unconstitutional for an organization such as the NCAA to deny athletes the right to obtain a job, or put a limit on the amount of money that a person can make? Does the 14th Amendment cover this when it says no State can deprive any person of life, liberty, or property?"

The Constitution, for the most part, places restrictions or grants powers to the federal government; state government less so. It has no power over private individuals or organizations. That having been said, however, the federal government can make laws that make it illegal to do this or that. So while it is not unconstitutional for a private organization to deny an athlete the right to work, it could be made illegal.

Now, let's look at this specific case. Be aware that I am not a lawyer, nor did I crack the books to do extensive research on the NCAA. So if anyone has info to the contrary, please let me know.

As I understand it, a school must be a member of the NCAA to play sanctioned games against other NCAA schools. To be an NCAA school, the school agrees to abide by certain rules, which may include restrictions on what amateur athletes can and cannot do, and what schools can and cannot do for a member of their teams. If one of the rules is that you cannot provide cars for your athletes, then that's one of the rules. The player has the option of not playing for that team if he or she does not agree with the rules. The school has the option of being an NCAA team or not. So I doubt that there is any law that prevents the NCAA from making rules of this nature, and unless the NCAA was taken over by the federal government, it would not be unconstitutional.

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