Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Exploiting College Athletes
Walter Byers with Charles Hammer
A challenge to the present system of college athletics


Walter Byers, who served as NCAA executive director from 1951 to 1987, was charged with the dual mission of keeping intercollegiate sports clean while generating millions of dollars each year as income for the colleges. Here Byers exposes, as only he can, the history and present-day state of college athletics: monetary gifts, questionable academic standards, advertising endorsements, legal battles, and the political manipulation of college presidents.

Byers believes that modern-day college sports are no longer a student activity: they are a high-dollar commercial enter-prise, and college athletes should have the same access to the free market as their coaches and colleges. He favors no one as he cites individual cases of corruption in NCAA history. From Byers' first enforcement case, against the University of Kentucky in 1952, to the NCAA's 1987 "death penalty" levied against Southern Methodist University of Dallas, he shows the change in the athletic environment from simple rules and personally responsible officials to convoluted, cyclopedic regulations with high-priced legal firms defending college violators against a limited NCAA enforcement system. This book is a must for anyone involved in college sports--athletes, coaches, fans, college faculty, and administrators.

As NCAA executive director, Byers started the an enforcement program, pioneered a national academic rule for athletes, and signed more than fifty television contracts with ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, and Turner Broadcasting. He oversaw the growth of the NCAA basketball tournament to one that, in 1988, grossed $68.2 million. As the one person who has been inside college athletics for forty years, Walter Byers is uniquely qualified to tell the story of the NCAA and today's exploitation of college athletes.

Praise / Awards

  • "Walter Byers has done more to shape intercollegiate athletics than any single person in history. He brought a combination of leadership, insight, and integrity to intercollegiate athletics that we will never again see equaled."
    —Bob Knight, Head Basketball Coach, Indiana University
  • "Walter Byers's career represents a dedication and commitment to excellence over a remarkably long time."
    —Dan Rather, CBS News
  • "The NCAA under Walter's direction was very sensitive about the needs of its members. Byers's ideas benefited all of us."
    —Eddie Robinson, Grambling State University
  • "The vision, energy, and integrity of Walter Byers shaped the NCAA from its formative years to its formidable presence in intercollegiate sports today."
    —Gail J. Fullerton, President Emeritus, San Jose State University
  • "Walter Byers is an 'energizer' who has an impact on virtually everyone with whom he comes in contact. He empowered others to strive to succeed and do so in the most ethical manner possible."
    —Judith R. Holland, Senior Associate Director, UCLA Athletics
  • "There has been no other executive in the history of professional, college, or amateur sports who has had such an impact in his area."
    —Keith Jackson, ABC Sports
  • "A wonderful book. It will be read well into the twenty-first century."
    —Ronald A. Smith, Pennsylvania State University
  • "Walter Byers has that inimitable ability to . . . balance uneven and unmeasured ideas with the wit and wisdom available to only a few. He is an uncommon man."
    —Tom Butters, Athletic Director, Duke University
  • "The governance of intercollegiate athletics is . . . a difficult challenge. Some of us—not many—believe that an important obstacle to thinking constructively about these matters is an antiquated and destructive set of beliefs about the alleged moral superiority of 'amateurist.' I welcome Walter Byers's experienced voice to the debate."
    —William P. Geberding, President, University of Washington
  • "Readers may not agree with Byers' diagnosis or his prescription. They might not even agree with him that the patient is sick. But no one interested in college athletics can ignore this book. It will be required reading for a long time to come."
    —Steve Gietschier, Sporting News

Product Details

  • 424 pages.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2014
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-12087-1

  • Kindle

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  • college sports, college athletics, NCAA, student-athletes, commercialization of college sports, college football, college basketball, academic standards, NCAA compliance rules, athletic scholarships