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Big-Time Sports in American Universities
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Book description

For almost a century, big-time college athletics 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. In the second edition of his influential book Big-Time Sports in American Universities, Clotfelter continues to examine the role of athletics in American universities, building on his argument that commercial sports have become a core function of the universities that engage in them. Drawing on recent scandals on large-scale college campuses and updates on several high-profile court cases, Clotfelter brings clear economic analysis to the variety of problems that sports raise for university and public policy, providing the basis for the continuation of constructive conversations about the value of big-time sports in higher education.


‘This new edition of Charles T. Clotfelter's book on big-time sports in American Universities updates and extends the brilliant analysis of the original. The big time has gotten bigger – there is more money and more corruption than ever. Like its predecessor, the new combines skilled economic analysis with a deep understanding of how universities work. This book is essential reading for fans, faculty, and university leaders.'

Paul Courant - Former Provost, University of Michigan

‘This second edition of Charles T. Clotfelter's important book on big-time college sports expands his careful analysis of the risks and benefits of conducting such a commercial enterprise as a core function of American universities. He adds a critical analysis of growing threats such as the long-term health implications for players and the pressures for their compensation while warning about the impact of future possibilities such as legalized gambling. Clotfelter also acknowledges, however, that these risks are accepted by growing population of fans who strongly identify with and support this activity, thereby making both reform and control by universities difficult.'

James Duderstadt - President Emeritus, University of Michigan

‘With more and more universities trying to move into big-time sports, this new edition is even more important than the previous one. With the continuing scandals involving university sports programs - the payoffs, the harassment and others - the book is must reading for sports fans, academics and the general public.'

Daniel S. Hamermesh - Sue Killam Professor Emeritus, University of Texas, Austin and Professor Emeritus, Royal Holloway University of London

‘Academic scandals, outsized compensation packages for coaches and their staff, opulent practice facilities that put academic facilities to shame have become all too commonplace at even some of our most venerable and distinguished universities. Fortunately, in the just released second edition of his influential book Big-Time Sports in American Universities, Charles T. Clotfelter brings news insights into how big-time collegiate sports got to its current unsettling state. Even better, he offers promising ideas as to how the excesses of collegiate athletics might be reined in and the enterprise made more compatible with the values of academe.'

William Kirwan - Former Chair, Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics

‘Anyone who wishes to truly understand the nature and possible evolution of big-time athletics at American universities needs to begin by consulting this thoughtfully updated edition of Clotfelter's classic. The second edition provides many new insights.'

Harold T. Shapiro - President Emeritus and Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University

‘Charles T. Clotfelter's new book shows in details and data how college sports have become center stage in American universities of the twenty-first century. His chapters are exciting and his analyses are balanced and fair. Finally we have a book by a leading scholar who knows both academics and athletics. This leaves us with a great basis for reform.'

John Thelin - University of Kentucky, author of Games Colleges Play: Scandal and Reform in Intercollegiate Athletics

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