_CULTURE SOCIETY Equality

_Gated Athletes

Are exclusive, player-only villages a good thing? According to Drexel research, these coach-supported “athletic villages” have drawbacks for individual players and universities.

_Karen Weaver

Weaver is an associate clinical professor in the LeBow College of Business’ Sport Management Department.

More universities are investing in multi-million-dollar “athletic villages” on the premise that they enhance the togetherness of teams. But Karen Weaver, associate clinical professor in Drexel’s Sport Management Department and co-author of the study “Big Time Athletic Villages – Gated Communities Emerging on Campus,” warns that the exclusivity of these compounds may further segregate athletes from the campus population, resulting in social and personal drawbacks.

Weaver and co-author Jordan Tegtmeyer observed that while these villages are flashy and enticing, they reduce the amount of interaction a student-athlete has with the rest of the student body.

Weaver’s research was cited in the plaintiff’s opening arguments in the 2018 Alston v NCAA trial in Oakland, California. This case was brought to the court by former Division I athletes who believe the NCAA’s restrictions on college athlete compensation are an illegal restraint of trade. Weaver’s research was included by the players’ counsel because it demonstrated the isolation and segregation that athletes can experience when coaches expect athletes to spend their non-class time with their teammates inside these restricted communities.

The federal judge issued a ruling in the winter that was favorable to college athletes; an appeal to a higher court is anticipated.