Synopses & Reviews
The President of Williams College faces a firestorm for not allowing the women's lacrosse team to postpone exams to attend the playoffs. The University of Michigan loses $2.8 million on athletics despite averaging 110,000 fans at each home football game. Schools across the country struggle with the tradeoffs involved with recruiting athletes and updating facilities for dozens of varsity sports. Does increasing intensification of college sports support or detract from higher education's core mission?
James Shulman and William Bowen introduce facts into a terrain overrun by emotions and enduring myths. Using the same database that informed The Shape of the River, the authors analyze data on 90,000 students who attended thirty selective colleges and universities in the 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s. Drawing also on historical research and new information on giving and spending, the authors demonstrate how athletics influence the class composition and campus ethos of selective schools, as well as the messages that these institutions send to prospective students, their parents, and society at large.
Shulman and Bowen show that athletic programs raise even more difficult questions of educational policy for small private colleges and highly selective universities than they do for big-time scholarship-granting schools. They discover that today's athletes, more so than their predecessors, enter college less academically well-prepared and with different goals and values than their classmates--differences that lead to different lives. They reveal that gender equity efforts have wrought large, sometimes unanticipated changes. And they show that the alumni appetite for winning teams is not--as schools often assume--insatiable. If a culprit emerges, it is the unquestioned spread of a changed athletic culture through the emulation of highly publicized teams by low-profile sports, of men's programs by women's, and of athletic powerhouses by small colleges.
Shulman and Bowen celebrate the benefits of collegiate sports, while identifying the subtle ways in which athletic intensification can pull even prestigious institutions from their missions. By examining how athletes and other graduates view The Game of Life--and how colleges shape society's view of what its rules should be--Bowen and Shulman go far beyond sports. They tell us about higher education today: the ways in which colleges set policies, reinforce or neglect their core mission, and send signals about what matters.
"College athletics have changed dramatically over the past fifty years. The authors present insightful research that is far more credible than the usual anecdotal commentaries on such topics. They document the increasing specialization by athletes, the effects of the relatively rapid evolution of women's participation, and the way that college sports are deeply intertwined with the ways that secondary and primary schools approach athletics. The Game of Life captures how these dynamics have had a profound effect on the current relevance of athletics to the academy and places these issues of significance squarely on the fifty yard line for college presidents and trustees. The question is will they be willing (or able) to accept the challenge?"--Richard W. Kazmaier, Jr., 1951 Heisman Trophy Winner, Member of the Knight Commission in Intercollegiate Athletics
"This is an excellent addition to the sports-education literature and will have a broad appeal. The set of issues Shulman and Bowen lay out are important and timely. That they base their conclusions on solid empirical work from an excellent database and provide both contemporary and longitudinal perspectives are added bonuses."--Allen Sanderson, University of Chicago
"This path-breaking study of intercollegiate athletics is rich in detail, long on perspective and enlightening in insights and conclusions. Shulman and Bowen have tested-and refuted-many of the popular assumptions concerning intercollegiate athletics with a pervasive body of empirical data spanning over twenty years. They document the increasing tensions, if not conflict, between athletics and the academic mission of institutions of higher education. Moreover, the study reveals that many of the same issues that bedeviled 'big time' intercollegiate athletics are now manifested in women's athletics and the programs of Ivy League and smaller, liberal arts institutions. No starry-eyed idealists, the authors recognize the complexity and sensitivity of the issues involved but offer a set of propositions to begin the task of restoring balance between academic values and the appetites of intercollegiate athletics. This book should command the attention of university presidents and trustees and all those fans and alumni who hope to cheer their teams to victory."--Arnold R. Weber, President Emeritus, Northwestern University
Table of Contents
List of Figures vii
List of Ta61es xiii
Prelude: Four Snapshots xv
Chapter 1. The Institutionalization and Regulation of College Sports in Historical Perspective 1
Chapter 2. The Admissions Game: Recruiting Male Athletes and the Implications of Selection 29
Chapter 3. The College Game: Academic Outcomes for Men 59
Chapter 4. Men's Lives after College: Advanced Study, Jobs, Earnings 87
Chapter 5. The Development of Women's Athletic Programs 113
Chapter 6. New Players: The Recruitment and Admission of Women Athletes 126
Chapter 7. Women Athletes in College 141
Chapter 8. Women's Lives after College: Advanced Study, Family, Jobs, Earnings 157
Chapter 9. Leadership 182
Chapter 10. Giving Back 205
Chapter 11. The Financial Equation: Expenditures and Revenues 227
Chapter 12. Key Empirical Findings 258
Chapter 13. Taking Stock 268
Chapter 14. Thinking Ahead: Impediments to Change and Proposed Directions 289
Appendix A: Scorecards 311
Appendix B: Supplementary Data 355