Exploring College Sports in the Time of COVID-19: A Legal, Medical, and Ethical Analysis
70 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2020 Last revised: 12 Aug 2021
Date Written: September 1, 2020
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic threatens the safety of people attending large social gatherings including organized sporting events. As the number of deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 skyrocketed in March 2020, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) suspended all member colleges’ spring sports seasons. The NCAA has since implemented new guidelines that allow for individual member colleges to make independent decisions about if, and when, to resume their intercollegiate sports programs. This Article explores the implications of resuming intercollegiate sports in the midst of a pandemic from a legal, medical and ethical perspective. The team of scholars who authored this Article include professors at four major public universities, with terminal degrees in the fields of law, medicine, education, and sports management. Adopting a true interdisciplinary approach to the question of how and when to return to sport, the authors collectively express their concerns regarding how NCAA member colleges are approaching the legal and ethical issues surrounding the offering of intercollegiate sports during a pandemic, and propose ten best practices for colleges to determine when and how to resume offering intercollegiate sports.
Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, negligence, sports law, sports, college sports, NCAA, college football, sports business, NCAA, sports ethics, medical ethics, health, education, health law, education law, antitrust law, medical ethics
JEL Classification: Z2, Z21, Z28, K21, K31, I00, I1, I10, I2, I20, I23, I28, I38, J47, J5, J88
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation