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Journal for Peace and Justice Studies

Volume 28, Issue 1, 2018

Daniel R. Gilbert, Jr.
Pages 120-156
DOI: 10.5840/peacejustice20182815

On Absorbent Common Ground
An Achievement of Justice in Intercollegiate Athletics Competition

This paper is about an achievement of justice in the routine conduct of intercollegiate athletics competition. This accomplishment was a voluntary binding arrangement, lasting thirty years, through which five intercollegiate men’s basketball competitors sustained bilateral playing relationships and ventured into bilateral playing relationships beyond their togetherness. This was a just arrangement because the participants knowingly practiced tolerance of one another’s pursuit of outside playing relationships while affirming their belonging to the company of one another. Absorbent common ground is the name of this centered accomplishment of tolerance among distinctive competitors. Evidence of absorbent common ground is located in intercollegiate basketball schedules, where the basic building block is a voluntary bilateral agreement to engage in a competition. The paper concludes with a commentary about the work that we do as college educators and the assumptions that we take for granted in that endeavor.