Is Donald Remy moving a cherished NCAA expression into the 21st century? And why? Maybe we’ll never know.
Did the NCAA quietly change its signature term “student-athlete” to “college athlete?” Allie Grasgreen, a higher education reporter at Politico Pro, astutely raised that question on Twitter after the NCAA’s statement this week on the Northwestern union decision. NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy made six references to “college athletes” in his Aug. 17 statement after calling them “student-athletes” seven times in a 2014 statement when the union attempt began. In a separate NCAA news release on Aug. 6 about time demands, the NCAA referred to players as “college athletes.”
For decades, the NCAA has used “student-athlete” as a noble idea for amateur athletics and a legal defense. The NCAA created the term “student-athlete” in the 1950s as a successful legal defense after the widow of college football player Ray Dennison, who died from a head injury while playing football, filed for workers-compensation death benefits. The “student-athlete” defense has worked for the NCAA in other cases. The NCAA, which did not respond to requests for comment, parses words so carefully that chances are this change has some meaning behind it. In recent years, the association has shifted from “amateurism” to “collegiate model.” [Emphasis added.]
Stacey Osburn, you minx.