Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Angela Schneider


The choice of what sport to play and the manner in which a person plays it has moral content and represents values that are personally meaningful to the individual athlete. However, due to the hegemonic influence of the concept of fair play, athletes do not have control over, or freedom of expression within, their chosen sports. This has additional and harmful ramifications for those currently excluded from communities of sport practice because the rules of sporting contests have very little flexibility to allow for participant directed change. A rights-based conception of sport encourages athletes to engage in ‘civil disobedience’ within sport to bring about, or at least draw attention to, necessary rule changes, and for sport to tolerate such disobedience so as not to compromise the autonomy of those who dissent to current standards of excellence or practice. This implementation of rights-based sport will be examined in the context of para-sport since individuals with disabilities are one possible group who would benefit significantly. Finally, the ethical arguments and their implications for sport will be practically tested within the context of the Canadian University Rowing Championships and the creation of a unified sport opportunity for ‘able-bodied’ athletes as well as para-athletes alike.