COVID-19 Unmasks the NCAA’s Collegiate Model Myth

In Jeffrey P. Fry & Andrew Edgar (eds.), Philosophy, Sport and the Pandemic. New York: Routledge (2022)
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The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) positions itself as an institution primarily dedicated to the health and betterment of “student-athletes” across the country, but in reality it is not so virtuous. This paper will show how decisions made during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 undermine the stated purpose of the current intercollegiate sports model in the United States. It will begin by presenting the claimed goals and values of the NCAA. Then, it will show how many decisions made during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 are incompatible with these goals. In doing so, it will illustrate that there is one purpose that is far more in line with decisions during the 2020 pandemic: revenue generation through mass entertainment. Even for those who have long bought into the NCAA’s noble rhetoric, COVID-19 is mask off for the NCAA’s “collegiate model” myth.

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Alex Wolf-Root
University of Colorado, Boulder


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