After decades of domination on campus, college sports' supremacy has begun to weaken. "Enough, already!" detractors cry. College is about learning, not chasing a ball around to the whir of TV cameras.
In Intercollegiate Athletics and the American University, James Duderstadt agrees, taking the view that the increased commercialization of intercollegiate athletics endangers our universities and their primary goal, academics. Calling it a "corrosive example of entertainment culture" during an interview with ESPN's Bob Ley, Duderstadt suggested that college basketball, for example, "imposes on the university an alien set of values, a culture that really is not conducive to the educational mission of university."
Duderstadt is part of a growing controversy. Recently, as reported in The New York Times, an alliance between university professors and college boards of trustees formed in reaction to the growth of college sports; it's the first organization with enough clout to challenge the culture of big-time university athletics.
This book is certainly part of that challenge, and is sure to influence this debate today and in the years to come.
James J. Duderstadt is President Emeritus and University Professor of Science and Engineering, University of Michigan.