Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation




Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Department of History


Raymond M. Hyser

Kevin R. Hardwick

Laura Henigman


This paper examines the progression of the intercollegiate athletic space, from a small regatta in 1852 to the massive athletic environment we know now in contemporary society. It finds the National Collegiate Athletic Association snared in a trap of circular logic that has been closing in on it since its conception, as it has defined collegiate athletes as amateurs and then proceeded to argue for amateur status for those athletes because of the definition that it wrote. This paper concludes in its final two chapters, after analyzing the recent Supreme Court case NCAA v. Alston, and the Name, Image, and Likeness legalization that followed, that the NCAA has recently taken a seismic blow to its authoritarian regime over collegiate athletics. It also fills an understudied yet extremely important gap in the historiography, due to its analysis of modern NIL deals and the transfer portal – two crucial pieces of contemporary collegiate athletics that have not yet come under academic study because they are so recent. This study finds that the intercollegiate athletic landscape is likely changed forever, and furthermore, that this change is for the better.



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