Does the NCAA’s Collegiate Model Promote Competitive Balance? Power-5 Conference Football Versus the NFL

E Woodrow Eckard
Journal of Sports Economics,Vol. 20, Issue 5, Pages: 654-670.
The disparity between athlete compensation and major sports revenues has produced criticisms of The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)’s Collegiate Model of athletic competition. In defense, the NCAA argues that it promotes competitive balance. One implication is that moving toward a professional model would reduce balance. The present article tests this hypothesis by comparing competitive balance in Power-5 conference football to that for the professional National Football League (NFL) using a variety of balance metrics. The results provide no support for the NCAA’s implicit hypothesis of less balance in the NFL, undermining competitive balance as a legitimate defense of the NCAA’s Collegiate Model.