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Big-Time Sports in American Universities

$29.99

  • Date Published: March 2011
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107004344

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  • For almost a century, big-time college sports has been a wildly popular but consistently problematic part of American higher education. The challenges it poses to traditional academic values have been recognized from the start, but they have grown more ominous in recent decades, as cable television has become ubiquitous, commercial opportunities have proliferated, and athletic budgets have ballooned. Drawing on new research findings, this book takes a fresh look at the role of commercial sports in American universities. It shows that, rather than being the inconsequential student activity that universities often imply that it is, big-time sports has become a core function of the universities that engage in it. For this reason, the book takes this function seriously and presents evidence necessary for a constructive perspective about its value. Although big-time sports surely creates worrying conflicts in values, it also brings with it some surprising positive consequences.

    • New findings about the size, importance and effects of big-time college sports, including the effect on work and happiness
    • A careful description of running a big-time college sports program, including marketing and sources of revenue, and how TV, rising incomes and tax policy have contributed to its rapid growth
    • Assessment of conflicts between university values and those implicit in big-time sports
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “This is a remarkable book. Charles Clotfelter uses the tools of policy economics (tools that he wields with the best of them) to shed light on one of the most vexing issues in higher education: Why do so many excellent universities devote so much money and attention to big-time intercollegiate sports? He presents surprising facts and original analyses, makes persuasive proposals for change, and delivers the package with an unusual and welcome combination of wit and rigor. This is must reading for university administrators, and flat out fun reading for all who are interested in universities or intercollegiate athletics.” – Paul N. Courant, University of Michigan

    “Charles Clotfelter has provided a valuable and remarkably well-researched assessment of the role of ‘big-time’ college athletics in American higher education. Bringing to bear his considerable experience in economic and social policy, he has provided an unusually well-balanced analysis of the pros and cons of including this form of commercial entertainment as a university mission, thereby resulting in a book that is an important and fascinating addition to this highly controversial subject.” – James J. Duderstadt, President Emeritus, University of Michigan

    “A fascinating, insightful discussion of the arms race that is big-time intercollegiate athletics. Clotfelter clarifies how this parallel universe in large universities exists essentially independent of faculty or administrative control, being instead the creature of powerful self-perpetuating groups of ‘boosters.’ The convincing, novel demonstration of the role of tax subsidies in supporting these operations should raise every reader’s blood pressure.” – Daniel S. Hamermesh, University of Texas at Austin

    “This book offers an excellent discussion of the role of big-time athletics on university campuses today. Instead of either lambasting varsity athletics across the board or celebrating them uncritically, Clotfelter’s persuasive data, thoughtful analysis, and balanced treatment make a strong case for acknowledging athletics as an integral part of life on many campuses and dealing straightforwardly with both the problems and the benefits this entails.” – Nannerl O. Keohane, Princeton University, Former President, Duke University

    “With his book Big-Time Sports in American Universities, Charles Clotfelter has done those of us who care about balancing the mission of higher education institutions with the impact of high-level college athletics an enormous favor. Providing great insights and careful analysis, Dr. Clotfelter reveals both the rationale behind ‘big-time’ sports programs at American universities and the consequences – good and ill – that follow. Hopefully, this fresh look at a decades-old (and uniquely American) issue will encourage and guide the on-going reform efforts aimed at finding the right balance in the costs and benefits of big-time college sports.” – William Kirwan, Chancellor, University System of Maryland

    “Charles Clotfelter offers an original, informative perspective on a question that has confounded scholars of sports: Why are American universities uniquely devoted to providing big-time sports entertainment? This book is crammed with new facts and analysis about intercollegiate sports, and it offers fresh insights into why college sports programs sometimes are out of control even in elite universities.” – Roger Noll, Stanford University

    “Finally an honest, balanced, sober, well-informed, and highly intelligent analysis of the nature, role, and impact of big-time athletics on American higher education has arrived. Clotfelter’s new book, which judiciously deploys an impressive variety of data sources together with expert and original analysis, should be required reading by anyone with a genuine interest in the future of American higher education and the role and impact of big-time sports in the academy.” – Harold S. Shapiro, President Emeritus, Princeton University

    "If I ever wanted to educate a person who knew nothing at all about big-time sports in American universities (and there are plenty of them out there, namely 6.86 billion non-Americans on the globe, and maybe a stray Martian or two), I would start them off with Charles Clotfelter’s book, Big-Time Sports in American Universities.... And, best of all, in addition to Clotfelter’s sage comments, the book is replete with charts and tables of proprietary new research findings wherein he methodically demonstrates correlations, relationships and causations that sagely plot big-time sports, universities, conferences, bowls, administrators, alumni, boosters and media into a series of comprehensible concepts and conclusions that even a stray Martian would understand."—CollegeAthleticsClips.com

    "The book offers plenty of... eye-opening statistics but is perhaps most surprising in its even-handed approach to the subject of major college athletics." - The Wall Street Journal

    "Charles Clotfelter, a Duke University professor, proves to be a delightful guide on a quest to answer two questions: Why do so many universities embrace big-time sports? And what are the consequences?.... True to his academic roots — remember, economist — Clotfelter engages in a cost-benefit analysis that goes off in all kinds of surprising directions, particularly when he comes up with his own, often ingenious, ways of testing assumptions." - The Seattle Times

    "Charles Clotfelter's book, Big-Time Sports in American Universities, is a masterpiece. It is the seminal work on this topic and a splendid piece of work." - Robert Atwell, President Emeritus of the American Council on Education

    “… [This] remarkably well-timed book… is essential reading for anyone serious about understanding why college sports persist and what practical steps could be taken to improve them.” - Thad Williamson, Indyweek.com

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2011
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107004344
    • length: 342 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus. 13 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Commercial Sports as a University Function:
    1. Strange bedfellows
    2. Priorities
    3. The bigness of 'big time'
    Part II. The Uses of Big-Time College Sports:
    4. Consumer product, mass obsession
    5. Commercial enterprise
    6. Institution builder
    7. Beacon for campus culture
    Part III. Reckoning:
    8. Ends and means
    9. Prospects for reform
    Appendices.

  • Author

    Charles T. Clotfelter, Duke University, North Carolina
    Charles Clotfelter is Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics and Law at Duke University and a research associate in the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research has covered the economics of education, public finance and state lotteries; tax policy and charitable behavior; and policies related to the nonprofit sector. His previous books on higher education are Buying the Best: Cost Escalation in Elite Higher Education (1996) and (with Ronald Ehrenberg, Malcolm Getz and John Siegfried) Economic Challenges in Higher Education (1991). His most recent book is After Brown: The Rise and Retreat of School Desegregation (2004) and he is the editor of the volumes American Universities in a Global Market (2010) and (with Michael Rothschild) Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education (1993). He is also the author of Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving (1985) and (with Philip Cook) Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America (1989). Professor Clotfelter has taught at the University of Maryland and spent one year at the U.S. Treasury's Office of Tax Analysis. At Duke he has been a faculty member in the Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs, now the Sanford School of Public Policy; the economics department; and the law school. He has served as Vice Provost for Academic Policy and Planning, Vice Chancellor and Vice Provost for Academic Programs.

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