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“The Most Evil Thing About College Sports”: The 1-Year Scholarship and a Former NCAA Athlete’s Personal Narrative

Karen L. Hartman

This autoethnographic account analyzes the culture of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), its rules, and the 1-year scholarship through a personal narrative of the author’s experience as a Division I basketball player who had her 1-year scholarship revoked before her senior year. The author seeks to provide a voice of resistance through an experience few have access to, as well as respond to calls for more communication scholars to use personal narrative research in sport. This scholarly commentary concludes with recommendations to change the culture of the NCAA to make it more amenable to multiyear scholarships and student-athlete rights: Communication between the NCAA and institutional members must continue to advocate for student-athlete rights; if schools are not going to offer multiyear scholarships, the NCAA needs to change the deadline for when schools must notify of nonrenewal; and student-athletes need to be encouraged to join associations that support their rights.

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The Elephant in the Room: How COVID-19’s Financial Impact Further Threatens Title IX Compliance

Karen L. Hartman

This scholarly commentary addresses COVID-19’s financial impact by examining how current and proposed National Collegiate Athletic Association bylaw waivers could negatively affect women’s collegiate athletics and Title IX compliance. These potential bylaw changes come after years of misinformation, a lack of education, and minimal understanding of the law. In the chaos of COVID-19’s impact on American society and athletic programs, Title IX has become the elephant in the room. The essay concludes with three recommendations that could help athletic departments alleviate Title IX compliance issues when enacting the bylaw waivers.

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Stealing Thunder Through Social Media: The Framing of Maria Sharapova’s Drug Suspension

Travis R. Bell and Karen L. Hartman

In March 2016 the highest-paid women’s athlete, Maria Sharapova, called a press conference to announce a failed drug test. Sharapova relied on the crisis communication strategy of stealing thunder to present the information to media and break the story. The authors analyze how the press conference and her strategy were portrayed in traditional and online media and how Sharapova promoted and broadcast the press conference to defend herself. Using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) software and textual analysis, the authors argue that Sharapova’s use of the stealing-thunder strategy successfully influenced media narratives about her suspension and should be considered by athletes in crisis situations.