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This article examines the fundamental concept of uniform academic eligibility standards for college athletes. It argues that the NCAA is an organization governed by the principle of athletics primacy rather than the educational primacy of its members. The unintended result has been the creation of an eligibility paradox. Uniform rules intended to enhance academic goals inherently suppress the value of the educational opportunity paid to student-athletes in exchange for their athletic participation. The article further argues that separating the concept of academic eligibility from athletic eligibility and transforming the former into one of compensation through academic achievement will best maximize the value of an educational opportunity. Such a reform may lead to the development of modifications to amateur eligibility including the permissibility of payments to student-athletes for the use of their names and images by universities, and perhaps, the signing of contracts with professional sports teams without losing athletic eligibility for intercollegiate athletics. It is time to adapt the dinosaur of NCAA intercollegiate athletics to modern realities.

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Villanova Sports and Entertainment Law Journal



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