Charles Clotfelter, “Big-Time Sports in American Universities”
IN A NUTSHELL
The United States is the only country with universities that participate in what amounts to commercial sports entertainment.
Why this happened in America and not elsewhere is interesting to contemplate. James Michener called it a “quirk of history.” But what is relevant for our time is the unshakable hold that big-time sports continues to have over the universities that engage in it.
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.
The book asks two questions. Why do universities play big-time football and basketball? And: Is it good for them or not?