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Beer and Circus: How Big-Time College Sports is Crippling Undergraduate Educationby Murray Sperber
Synopses & Reviews
A no-holds-barred examination of the troubled relationship between college sports and higher education from a leading authority on the subject
Murray Sperber turns common perceptions about big-time college athletics inside out. He shows, for instance, that contrary to popular belief the money coming in to universities from sports programs never makes it to academic departments and rarely even covers the expense of maintaining athletic programs. The bigger and more prominent the sports program, the more money it siphons away from academics.
Sperber chronicles the growth of the university system, the development of undergraduate subcultures, and the rising importance of sports. He reveals television's ever more blatant corporate sponsorship conflicts and describes a peculiar phenomenon he calls the "Flutie Factor"--the surge in enrollments that always follows a school's appearance on national television, a response that has little to do with academic concerns. Sperber's profound re-evaluation of college sports comes straight out of today's headlines and opens our eyes to a generation of students caught in a web of greed and corruption, deprived of the education they deserve.
Sperber presents a devastating critique, not only of higher education but of national culture and values. Bear & Circus is a must-read for all students and parents, educators and policy makers.
Sperber issues a no-holds-barred examination of how big-time college sports is crippling undergraduate education. He argues that money coming into universities from sports programs never makes it to academic departments and barely covers the expense of maintaining athletic programs.
In this fascinating book, Sperber uses original research culled from students, faculty, and administrators around the country, to argue that what universities offer instead of a meaningful undergraduate education is a meager and dangerous substitute: the party scene surrounding college sports that Sperber calls "beer and circus" and which serves to keep the students happy while tuition dollars keep rolling in. He explodes cherished myths about college sports, showing, for instance, that contrary to popular belief the money coming in to universities from sports programs never makes it to academic departments.
Sperber's profound re-evaluation of college sports and higher education comes straight out of today's headlines and opens our eyes to a generation of students deprived of the education they deserve.
Murray Sperber has been acknowledged for years as the country's leading authority on college sports and their role in American culture. In the wake of Indiana University's decision to fire head basketball coach Bobby Knight last year, Sperber was in constant demand across the country--on television, radio, and print media--to comment on the profound and tragic impact of big-time intercollegiate athletics on higher education.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -308) and index.
About the Author
Murray Sperber is a regular media commentator on college sports. A professor of English and American studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, his previous books include College Sports, Inc.; Onward to Victory: The Crises That Shaped College Sports; and Shake Down the Thunder: The Creation of Notre Dame Football.
Table of Contents
Animal House — College sports winners and losers — The NCAA, the tube, and the fans — Corporate beer-and-circus — Admissions office scams — The Flutie factor — Shaft the undergraduates — The great researcher = great teacher myth — New Siwash in red ink — Student mix and match — The faculty/student nonaggression pact — Cheating — Undergraduate education triage : honors program lifeboats — Cheap beer : the oxygen of the Greek system — Drinking off-campus and far off-campus (spring break) — Party round the team — Rally round the team--as long as it wins and covers the spread — College Sports MegaInc. — College Sports MegaInc. versus undergraduate education — Who loves the jocks? — The New 3 R's — Conclusion: what should happen versus what probably will happen.
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