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.
and#160;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;
"It is hard to read Sperber's book without having a sinking feeling about the future of American culture. He has managed to document our national decline in painstaking detail, and the result is an admirable, timely and profoundly disturbing work."
--The New York Times Book Review
"The case [Sperber] marshalls against these places--'schools' scarcely seems the right word--is overwhelming, a devastating condemnation of 'higher education' in America."
-- Washington Post Book World
"'Beer and Circus' does a terrific job of illustrating how collegiate sports has shielded the decline in education from public scrutiny. . . .[I]t is a powerful and important book."--The Chicago Tribune
andldquo;The underlying fraud in big-time college athletics is academics. With the most comprehensive accounting, Smith and Willlingham paint an absolutely devastating picture of how so-called student-athletes are shamelessly exploited. . . . Cheated is nothing less than an American tragedy.andrdquo;andmdash;Frank Deford, author of The Entitled and senior contributing writer for Sports Illustrated
andldquo;This book informed me that, as a black athlete and a student, more awareness and information about the universities you attend must be thoroughly analyzed before making a decision about your future. The details of fraudulent education and unprepared black athletes in this book should shame our society. I am a living testimony that this book is the Pandoraandrsquo;s box of university secrets and black athlete exploitation. It is a must-read.andrdquo;andmdash;Rashad McCants, former NBA player and UNC NCAA Champion
andldquo;Smith and Willinghamandrsquo;s exposandeacute; of the corruption at the University of North Carolina reads like a suspense thriller but unfortunately is nonfiction. The authors offer concrete recommendations for college sports reform that should serve as a blueprint for all American universities.andrdquo;andmdash;Gerald Gurney, president of the Drake Group and assistant professor of adult and higher education at the University of Oklahoma
andquot;[Cheated] offers a stinging critique of UNC-Chapel Hillandrsquo;s handling of the academic and athletic wrongdoing that kept student athletes eligible to compete and persisted for nearly two decades.andquot;andmdash;Jane Stancill, News and Observer
andquot;Those who care about the soulandmdash;and economicsandmdash;of the $16 billion-a-year college sports industry should clear their reading calendar for Cheated.andquot;andmdash;Paul Barrett, Bloomberg Business
andquot;Cheated sounds an important call for reform.andquot;andmdash;Gregg Easterbrook, Wall Street Journal
andquot;All readers interested in education, public affairs, and college athletics will find this book essential.andquot;andmdash;John Maxymuk, Library Journal
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.
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.
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
Jay M. Smith is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has servedand#12288;in a variety of administrative capacities involving the management of undergraduate education.
Mary Willingham worked in the Center for Student Success and Academic Counseling at UNCand#8211;Chapel Hill until 2014. Both she (in 2013) and Smith (in 2014) received the Robert Maynard Hutchins Award from the Drake Group for integrity in the face of college sport corruption, making UNC the only institution with two Hutchins award winners. Willingham is the founder of Paper Class, Inc. (paperclassinc.com), an organization dedicated to fighting on behalf of student-athletes for a fair and proper education.
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.