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in sports, one who engages in athletic competition without material recompense. Upper-class Englishmen in the 19th cent. used the concept to help define their social status, first applying the term to sportsmen who did not need to work with their hands as livelihood, later using it to describe anyone who competed without pay. By the beginning of the 20th cent., leaders of two major sports movements, the American intercollegiate athletic system and the Olympic Games (revived in 1896), had adopted amateurism, claiming it developed competitors who were morally superior to professionals. In a famous incident, Olympic officials stripped decathlete Jim ThorpeThorpe, Jim
(James Francis Thorpe), 1888–1953, American athlete, b. near Prague, Okla. Thorpe was probably the greatest all-round male athlete the United States has ever produced. His mother, a Sac, named him Bright Path.
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 of two gold medals won at the 1912 Games because he had once accepted money to play baseball. Although almost all athletic structures not organized as professional ventures came to embrace amateurism as policy, athletes often subverted the code, forcing officials to constantly revise standards. From the outset, colleges allowed payment of educational expenses to athletes. In 1974, after Communist bloc nations had been subsidizing their athletes for two decades, the Olympics ceded to athletes the right to compensation for loss of salary during training, and shortly thereafter permitted professionals in sports whose governing bodies did not object. By the 1960s top-ranked golf and tennis amateurs had forced major tournaments to allow professional entrants. As evidenced by the return of Thorpe's medals in 1982, amateurism by the 1990s was a concept of diminished importance and one more of technical than moral distinction. The major organizations involved in the supervision of amateur athletics in the United States are the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), responsible for college and university sports, and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), responsible for most other areas of amateur competition.


See J. Lucas, The Modern Olympic Games (1980).

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References in periodicals archive ?
A question might be: "Who is more of a professional, according to NCAA DI amateurism principles?
At the Athens Session on 21 June 1961, "Amateurism Rule 26" was put forward and debated as the IOC attempted to maintain the cornerstone to de Coubertin's Olympic project.
Long may amateurism continue, our aim is always to do the best with what we've got, and we always strive for the best."
In particular, it's bound to raise the cry to dispense with amateurism and pay students to play.
I prefer amateur sport but have to recognise that once a game reached certain proportions, we cannot wholly maintain amateurism. What I object to is the mixing up of the two systems, with all the uncertainty and deception and sharp practises that follow in its train.
benefits the court found that the current system of amateurism provides.
"In a country exhausted by five years of crises (institutional uncertainty, increase in terrorist activities, political amateurism, protest fever, banditry in distribution circuits, ...) that have heavily damaged the economic fundamentals, the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) cannot do better in terms of monetary policy.
Jamil Abdelkader, President of Arab Union of Sports Press said that sport changed the latest years from amateurism to professionalism and that the preparation of an athlete needs great investments.
"I think the main takeaway is that the college athletics amateurism model survives for the time being.
In this case, the NCAA's rules have been more restrictive than necessary to maintain its tradition of amateurism in support of the college sports market.
"On the one hand, the opinion repeatedly acknowledges that amateurism is itself a legitimate procompetitive end for the NCAA to pursue and 'that not paying student-athletes is precisely what makes them amateurs.' But then the court ignores its own repeated admission by stating that amateurism rules need to serve a procompetitive goal other than amateurism."
College athletics currently operates under the pretense of amateurism. (4) The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the organization that currently oversees college athletics, maintains strict rules to ensure that college athletes remain "amateurs" rather than "professionals." However, despite a 432-page manual of regulations regarding amateurism, the NCAA never defines the concept.