Intercollegiate Athletics and the American University
A University President's Perspective
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Part I. Hail to the Victors
Download PDF (170.2 KB)
Mention Michigan to a sports fan, and the image that probably comes to mind is that of the university’s football team storming onto the field wearing those ferocious maize-and-blue striped helmets. Fans think of our great rivalries with Ohio State and Notre Dame. They recall the names of such legendary Michigan sports figures as Yost, Crisler, Harmon, and ...
2. Go Blue
Download PDF (549.6 KB)
It doesn’t take long for newcomers to the University of Michigan campus to discover the centrality of intercollegiate athletics in the life of the institution. The local newspapers and television broadcasts are saturated with news about Michigan teams, coaches, and players. Michigan insignia are plastered on sweatshirts and T-shirts, caps and scarves, coffee cups ...
3. A University President’s Perspective
Download PDF (173.0 KB)
Before I became provost and then president of the University of Michigan, I was a member of its faculty. Like many members of the Michigan faculty family, my wife Anne and I were loyal but distant spectators of Michigan athletics. Joining most of the rest of Ann Arbor, we attended football games, sitting in the same seats near the end zone year after year with other ...
Part II. How Do Things Really Work?
4. The Evolution of College Sports
Download PDF (144.0 KB)
A random sampling of media coverage would suggest that college sports consists primarily of big-time football and basketball programs, led by celebrity coaches, and played by soon-to-be professional athletes. In reality intercollegiate athletics is characterized by great diversity among institutions, sporting activities, and participants. This is not particularly ...
5. University 101
Download PDF (116.8 KB)
Although I have argued that intercollegiate athletics today is excessively influenced and distorted by external pressures such as the sports media and the commercial marketplace, our athletics programs did not evolve independently from, but rather within, the university. They have been shaped, in part, by the policies and practices, the financing and governance, ...
6. The Governance of Intercollegiate Athletics
Download PDF (84.0 KB)
During my term as chairman of the Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents (i.e., its board of directors), the conference celebrated its one hundredth anniversary in 1995 with a black-tie gala in the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. Exactly a century earlier, in the same hotel, the presidents of several major midwestern universities had come together, under the leadership of ...
7. Financing College Athletics
Download PDF (108.3 KB)
The sports media fuel the belief that money is the root of all evil in college athletics. And, indeed, the size of the broadcasting contracts for college football and basketball events, the compensation of celebrity coaches, and the professional contracts dangled in front of star athletes make it clear that money does govern many aspects of intercollegiate athletics. ...
Part III. Cracks in the Facade
8. The Commercialization of College Sports
Download PDF (448.6 KB)
Several years ago at a Big Ten Conference meeting, I decided to shake up things by offering a radical (if tongue-in-cheek) proposal. I proposed that all of the Big Ten universities agree to a five-year moratorium on television broadcasting of our sports events. I argued that this moratorium would provide our universities with the opportunity to determine the purpose ...
9. The Student-Athlete
Download PDF (135.9 KB)
Several years ago, the Michigan athletic department started an important tradition by hosting a banquet each spring to honor those athletes who had distinguished themselves in the classroom. It was my privilege as president to attend this banquet and offer congratulations to these students, all of whom had earned honors status in their various academic programs. ...
11. Institutional Control
Download PDF (248.3 KB)
There is no more serious accusation in a rules violations investigation by the NCAA Infractions Committee concerning intercollegiate athletics than a conclusion that the university has lost “institutional control” of its athletics program. But there is also perhaps no accusation more frequently misunderstood by the media, the public, and even the accused institution. To both ...
Part IV. Tilting at Windmills
12. Back to Basics
Download PDF (55.5 KB)
For just as long as intercollegiate athletics have been a part of American higher education, concerns have been raised about their integrity and appropriateness within the university. Generation after generation has taken on the challenge of reforming college sports, and all have essentially failed. Before remedies to cure the ills of college sports, I want first to take a ...
13. Roads to Reform
Download PDF (107.8 KB)
While the track record of efforts to reform intercollegiate athletics is not encouraging, it nevertheless is vitally important that educators continue to strive to control varsity sports and align them more appropriately with the educational values of their host institutions. ...
14. Reform or Extinction?
Download PDF (125.4 KB)
A century of experience does not leave one with great confidence that we can constrain the commercialization and professionalization of college sports. The insatiable interests of the American public in college sports, the vested interests of celebrity coaches and ambitious athletic directors, the powerful commercial forces of the sports media, the entertainment ...
Download PDF (43.1 KB)
As Intercollegiate Athletics and the American University was first appearing in print in the fall of 2000, I received a call from William Friday, the distinguished former president of the University of North Carolina. President Friday had served as co-chair of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, along with Father Theodore Hesburgh, former president of Notre Dame. He informed ...
Download PDF (42.7 KB)
Download PDF (35.8 KB)
Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 15 photographs
Publication Year: 2003