College Athletes for Hire: The Evolution and Legacy of the NCAA's Amateur Myth / Edition 1

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Many books have been written on the evils of commercialism in college sport, and the hypocrisy of payments to athletes from alumni and other sources outside the university. Almost no attention, however, has been given to the way that the National Collegiate Athletic Association has embraced professionalism through its athletic scholarship policy. Because of this gap in the historical record, the NCAA is often cast as an embattled defender of amateurism, rather than as the architect of a nationwide money-laundering scheme.

Sack and Staurowsky show that the NCAA formally abandoned amateurism in the 1950s and passed rules in subsequent years that literally transformed scholarship athletes into university employees. In addition, by purposefully fashioning an amateur mythology to mask the reality of this employer-employee relationship, the NCAA has done a disservice to student-athletes and to higher education. A major subtheme is that women, such as those who created the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), opposed this hypocrisy, but lacked the power to sustain an alternative model. After tracing the evolution of college athletes into professional entertainers, and the harmful effects it has caused, the authors propose an alternative approach that places college sport on a firm educational foundation and defend the rights of both male and female college athletes. This is a provocative analysis for anyone interested in college sports in America and its subversion of traditional educational and amateur principles.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The heart of the authors' argument is that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) continues to maintain "that corporate college sport is education rather than business" and that the educational establishment "has rallied around the myth." Sack, a professor of sociology and management at the Univ. of New Haven in Conn. and a former college football star, and Staurowsky, who teaches sports sciences at Ithaca College in N.Y. and is a former college athletic director, finger the NCAA as their villain. They accuse the organization of pretending to embrace amateurism while fighting for professionalism during the past half century; of helping colleges avoid suits by seriously injured athletes who were being used for financial gain; and of allowing schools to give athletic scholarships to students who were unqualified academically. The authors further charge the NCAA with sabotaging women's sports programs in an attempt "effectively to deny women equal educational opportunities." Their solution is a two-tiered system that would allow certain colleges to field semipro teams and to pay their players accordingly (as some institutions have been doing for decades), while other schools would have strictly amateur teams. The historical perspective provided in this well-organized study helps readers to better understand how the present system came about. (July)
Library Journal
Unsportsmanlike Conduct (LJ 10/1/95), written by former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) president Walter Byers, is used here as a platform to launch a discussion of the NCAA and its role in the development of big-money college basketball and football. Sack, coordinator of the Management of Sports Industries Program, University of New Haven, and Staurowsky (sport sciences, Ithaca Coll.) cover the usual ground concerning the exploitation of the student-athlete and the hypocrisy involved in pretending that education is the goal of the athletic scholarship. They go on to use the development of Division III college sports and the history of women's college athletics as evidence that college sports could have developed along other lines. A major theme of the book is Title IX and its effect on women' sports. The authors believe that it was a mixed blessing, providing women more access while forcing them into the competitive male model where education is incidental to athletics. A solid addition to any sports collection that should have particular appeal where there is interest in the political aspect of sports history and where there are women's programs.--Terry Jo Madden, Boise State Univ. Lib., ID
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275961916
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 821,860
  • Lexile: 1680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Different Faces of Collegiate Sport 1
Pt. I Rules of the Game for Men and Women 9
1 The Decline of the Amateur Spirit 11
2 The NCAA Turns Professional: 1906-1956 31
3 Physical Education and the Genesis of Women's Collegiate Sport 51
4 A Sport-for-Women Philosophy 63
Pt. II Athletic Scholarships and the Emergence of Corporate College Sport 77
5 Athletic Scholarships: From Gifts to Employment Contracts 79
6 Athletic Scholarships as Failed Academic Policy 95
7 Athletic Scholarships for Women: The Complexities of Intercollegiate Athletic Equality 111
Pt. III Suggestions for Reform 127
8 Putting the Amateur Myth to Rest 129
Notes 147
Further Reading 173
Index 175
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