The NCAA's Attack on Academic Freedom

Ann McClure's picture
Monday, January 28, 2013

It sounds like something you might hear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Question: What does it take for the NCAA to withdraw funding from scholars who study college sport? Answer: Scholars who actually say something about their study of college sport.

It would almost be funny if it weren't true. On the eve of the 2013 NCAA's Annual Convention, NCAA National Office officials met with the executive board of its Forum for the Scholarly Study of Intercollegiate Athletics (hereafter: Forum) to deliver the news that funding allocated to support an annual colloquium to foster multi-disciplinary research on college sport, held prior to the NCAA Convention, and support an academic journal was being taken away. According to NCAA vice-president James Isch, there were three reasons for the cut:

1) A lack of demonstrated interest in the colloquium (fact: despite minimalist promotional efforts on the part of the NCAA hundreds have attended keynotes and panels over the years); and

2) A lack of profitability for the journal (fact: the journal was never intended to be a profit-center); and

3) A failure to impact policy (fact: scholars on the program are among the leading experts in the field).

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