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Sports Law Expert John Wolohan Discusses College Athletics "Quasi-Bubbles" in WaPo

Posted on Friday 9/11/2020
John Wolohan

College football’s quasi bubbles have been disrupted with other students returning

(The Washington Post | Sept. 11, 2020) As sports in the United States worked to lift themselves out of an unprecedented shutdown, leagues developed similar strategies — all focused on confining athletes to a set of facilities and keeping them away from anyone who could disrupt the season by spreading the novel coronavirus. So far, it’s working. The NBA has staged a months-long marathon of games at Disney World. Women’s soccer played in Utah. Hockey set up outposts in Canada. Games have run smoothly and few players have contracted the virus.

College football longs for that same success and needs the season just as much to keep athletic departments financially afloat. But at the college level, players are, according to the NCAA, simply students. The association’s logic is that the same way some students help with economics research or study sociology, these students play football ...

... By keeping athletes on campus during the pandemic, while sending other students home, it is signaling that athletes fall into a separate category. “We’re making them different,” said Wolohan, the sports law professor, adding that he thinks this scenario could be used in an argument against the NCAA when trying to determine whether athletes should be considered employees ...

Read the full article.