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Acc Basketball: The Story of the Rivalries, Traditions, and Scandals of the First Two Decades of the Atlantic Coast Conferenceby J Samuel Walker
Synopses & Reviews
In 2010 allegations of an utterly corrupt academic system for student-athletes emerged from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, home of the legendary Tar Heels. As the alma mater of Michael Jordan, Larry Brown, Marion Jones, Lawrence Taylor, Rashad McCants, and many others; winner of forty national championships in six different sports; and a partner in one of the best rivalries in sports, UNCand#8211;Chapel Hill is a world-famous colossus of college athletics. In the wake of the Wainstein report, however, the fallout from this scandaland#8212;and the continuing spotlight on the failings of college athleticsand#8212;has made the school ground zero in the debate about how the $16 billion college sports industry operates.
Written by UNC professor of history Jay Smith and UNC athletics department whistleblower Mary Willingham, Cheated exposes the fraudulent inner workings of this famous university. For decades these internal systems have allowed woefully underprepared basketball and football players to take fake courses and earn devalued degrees from one of the nationand#8217;s top universities while faculty and administrators looked the other way. In unbiased and carefully sourced detail, Cheated recounts the academic fraud in UNCand#8217;s athletics department, even as university leaders focused on minimizing the damage in order to keep the billion-dollar college sports revenue machine functioning. Smith and Willingham make an impassioned argument that the and#8220;student-athletesand#8221; in these programs are being cheated out of what, after all, is promised them in the first place: a college education.and#160;
For twelve years the womenand#8217;s basketball rivalry between UConn and Tennessee was the most iconic matchup in womenand#8217;s sports. Even now, twenty years since the annual series started, the competition between these two storied programs still provokes heated argument and bitter resentment.
Led by Hall of Fame coaches Geno Auriemma and Pat Summitt, UConn and Tennessee combined for nine national championships, with the UConn Huskies winning fiveand#8212;including four against the Tennessee Lady Vols. In all, UConn won thirteen of twenty-two matchups during the rivalry, and along the way the two coachesand#8212;with distinctive and brash personalities and a shared determination to rule their sportand#8212;clashed privately and publicly, generating enough heat to make womenand#8217;s basketball relevant in the national sports landscape as never before.
On the court, the two teams produced a series of memorable games, from overtime thrillers to timeless classics that defined the sport. Off the court, the coachesand#8217; encounters were often marked by their seemingly genuine dislike for each other, until the conflict reached a breaking point in 2007 and Summitt stunned the basketball world by canceling the series for reasons neither side has ever revealed.
Now, eight years after the last game, Unrivaled uncovers the on-court and behind-the-scenes story of this intensely personal rivalry between coaches, players, and the two most passionate fan bases womenand#8217;s sports has ever known.
Since the inception of the Atlantic Coast Conference, intense rivalries, legendary coaches, gifted players, and fervent fans have come to define the league's basketball history. In ACC Basketball, J. Samuel Walker traces the traditions and the dramatic changes that occurred both on and off the court during the conference's rise to a preeminent position in college basketball between 1953 and 1972.
Walker vividly re-creates the action of nail-biting games and the tensions of bitter recruiting battles without losing sight of the central off-court questions the league wrestled with during these two decades. As basketball became the ACC's foremost attraction, conference administrators sought to field winning teams while improving academic programs and preserving academic integrity. The ACC also adapted gradually to changes in the postwar South, including, most prominently, the struggle for racial justice during the 1960s. ACC Basketball is a lively, entertaining account of coaches' flair (and antics), players' artistry, a major point-shaving scandal, and the gradually more evenly matched struggle for dominance in one of college basketball's strongest conferences.
About the Author
J. Samuel Walker is a prize-winning historian and author of several books, including Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs against Japan. He has been a devoted fan of ACC basketball for over 40 years.
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