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11 Marq. Sports L. Rev. 9 (2000-2001)
A Brief History of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Role in Regulating Intercollegiate Athletics

handle is hein.journals/mqslr11 and id is 27 raw text is: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL
As one whose scholarship focuses on religious liberty and sport, I am
often asked why I write in such seemingly disparate areas. My typical
response is that given my interest in the role of religion in society, I
certainly should be interested in sport, the religion of the American peo-
ple. This response invariably engenders a slight smile and chuckle.' I
fear that there is some truth to the statement. Although I do not have
the statistics necessary to prove it, my impression is that as many adults
are zealously devoted to the game on any given day as are devoted to
a worship service at a religious institution. As a people, we seem almost
fixated on sport and devote much space in newspapers and newscasts to
sport, with little space being allocated to religion. Yet, the discourse re-
garding sport is generally just description of events occurring, and rarely
peers more deeply into the ramifications of specific issues', or of the
* Presented on January 8, 1999, as part of the Law and Sports Section of the Association
of American Law Schools symposium titled The NCAA's Evolving Role in Governing
Intercollegiate Athletics.
Rodney K. Smith, Herff Chair in Law, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, The Uni-
versity of Memphis. Professor Smith has served as a member of the NCAA Infractions Ap-
peals Committee and as a Dean at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of
Montana, and Capital University. The author acknowledges the research assistance of Robert
1. I often wonder whether the response is based on a feeling that I have said something
cute, or whether it is founded in a deeper disquietude over the fact that I may just be right.
2. Sports sections are filled with description and occasional polemics over aspects of the
role of sport in society, but that discourse rarely goes beyond the superficial as to specific
issues raised. For example, commentators repeatedly argue that intercollegiate athletes
should be paid without discussing in any depth the ramifications of their suggestions on the
athletes and educational institutions. Marty Lang, Pay-For-Play Versus NCAA, at http:Iwww.
linkmag.com/link/FebMar_99/990121ccl-sports.html (Feb.-Mar. 1999). Academics, who un-
derstand the need to study major phenomena that affect our culture in great depth, often shun
the exploration of deeper ethical and moral issues related to sport. For example, once during
lunch with a group of my faculty colleagues, a fellow faculty member asked me what I thought
about the game that weekend. I responded that I did not watch the game. Almost aghast,
he wondered out loud, how can you teach sports law and not watch the game. As academ-
ics, like our journalistic counterparts, we are too often caught up in the anecdotal moment of

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