I spent a lot of time last week ruminatin’ on the discussions that grew out of Kevin Ware’s injury, and the discomfort I felt seeing writers––many of whom seemed to have little prior awareness or knowledge of college basketball––rail against Ware’s exploitation absent any context. It helped shine a lot on the NCAA and temper a bit of the sentimentality with which we wash over the ugly side of college sports every March. But much of the moralizing itself seemed to toe the line between self-serving and exploitative. This was my feeble attempt to advance that discussion, posted about a week too late.
In the days following Kevin Ware’s injury in the Elite Eight, David Sirota and others took the NCAA to task for its failures to protect college players in vulnerable circumstances. Their polemics on the exploitive structure of major college sports were timely and constructive, but in focusing on Ware’s narrative to deliver an accessible argument to a broad audience, it obscures the widely divergent circumstances of student-athletes in major college sports.