Synopses & Reviews
Perhaps more than any other two colleges, Harvard and Yale gave form to American intercollegiate athletics--a form that was inspired by the Oxford-Cambridge rivalry overseas, and that was imitated by colleges and universities throughout the United States. Focusing on the influence of these prestigious eastern institutions, this fascinating study traces the origins and development of intercollegiate athletics in America from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. Smith begins with an historical overview of intercollegiate athletics and details the evolution of individual sports--crew, baseball, track and field, and especially football. Then, skillfully setting various sports events in their broader social and cultural contexts, Smith goes on to discuss many important issues that are still relevant today: student-faculty competition for institutional athletic control; the impact of the professional coach on big-time athletics; the false concept of amateurism in college athletics; and controversies over eligibility rules. He also reveals how the debates over brutality and ethics created the need for a central organizing body, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which still runs college sports today. Sprinkled throughout with spicy sports anecdotes, from the Thanksgiving Day Princeton-Yale football game that drew record crowds in the 1890s to a meeting with President Theodore Roosevelt on football violence, this lively, in-depth investigation will appeal to serious sports buffs as well as to anyone interested in American social and cultural history.
"Excellent....The best book ever written on the history of American intercollegiate athletics. It is not likely that anytime soon another scholar will surpass Smith's research efforts, which involved work in some thirty-one archival repositories."--Reviews in American History
"Gives the reader a broad understanding of the social institutions, cultural values, intellectual structures, and human events that influenced the beginnings of athletics in eastern institutions."--Sociology of Sport Journal
"[A] wonderful piece of historical scholarship."--Canadian Journal of the History of Sport
"There is a great deal of valuable information packed into this...volume, and the careful reader will be rewarded numerous times....Smith has already added appreciably to our knowledge of the life and drama of turn-of-the-century America with his studies of athletics. With [this book] he has expanded and extended our information."--Journal of Sport History
"[An] excellent history....Although Smith tells the story of commercialization, his main theme is the shift in control of intercollegiate sports from the students to the faculty and administration and from them to the boards of trustees and the NCAA....Smith has combed the archives and come up with the facts."--The Los Angeles Times
The development of inter-collegiate athletics in the USA is traced from the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries in this study, which examines in particular the influence of Harvard and Yale Universities.
The development of inter-college athletics in America is traced from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries, looking in particular at the influence of Harvard and Yale.
About the Author
Ronald A. Smith
is Professor Emeritus of Exercise and Sport Science at Pennsylvania State University. He has written, edited, or collaborated on several books on sport history, among them American Baseball
, Big-Time Football at Harvard, 1905
, and Saga of American Sport