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Air Ball

American Educationâ??s Failed Experiment with Elite Athletics

Publication Year: 2006

John R. Gerdy has seen nearly every side of athletics. He is the son of a high school football coach; he was an All-American and professional basketball player and a legislative assistant for the National Collegiate Athletic Association; and he served as an associate commissioner for the Southeastern Conference. In Air Ball: American Education's Failed Experiment with Elite Athletics, Gerdy brings all of those perspectives to argue that the American system of school and community athletics is broken. But he is no mere naysayer. He offers a bold, progressive blueprint for reforming athletics to meet our country's educational and public health needs. Given higher education's historic role of providing leadership in our society, the initiative to restore a more sensible balance between athletics and education must begin with the reform of big-time college athletics. Despite widespread public skepticism regarding higher education's ability to change the system, Gerdy argues that the opportunity for reform has never been better. Using a provocative mix of research and thoughtful observation, he argues that, for the first time in the history of American higher education, the critical mass of people, organizations, and outside pressures necessary to drive and sustain progressive, systemic reform of the college athletic enterprise are in place. John R. Gerdy is a visiting professor in sports administration at Ohio University. He is the author of The Successful Athletic Program: The New Standard, Sports in School: The Future of an Institution, and Sports: The All-American Addiction (University Press of Mississippi) as well as numerous articles in journals such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, NCAA News, Sporting News, and Black Issues in Higher Education.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

CONTENTS

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pp. v-

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. vii-

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 3-10

"Each spring, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) convenes its annual metting in Destin, Florida. The purpose of gathering is to bring the various members of the SEC 'family' together to celebrate the end..."

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AN EXPERIMENT JUSTIFIED

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pp. 11-23

"Elite athletics was incorporated into our educational system for several reasons. It was believed that involvement in athletics was educational for, and built the 'character' of, participants. Futher, athletics could also provide..."

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BEYOND THE IVY-COVERED WALLS

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pp. 24-62

"The road to reform of America’s model of elite athletics begins and ends on college campus. Between those two points, however, that road runs through our high schools, cuts through our communities..."

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ENVISIONING A DIFFERENT FUTURE

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pp. 63-85

"Athletes often use a technique called 'visualization' to improve their chances of success. For example, the athlete imagines an act such as hitting a baseball of envisions reacting during a competitive situations. It is believed that if the athlete..."

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A CHANGED CONTEXT FOR REFORM

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pp. 86-117

"History provides many examples of monumental societal and cultural change. Empires have risen and fallen. Dynasties have collapsed or been conquered. Governments have been overthown. Ideologies have waxed and waned. Why is it, then, that..."

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BUILDING CRITICAL MASS FOR CHANGE

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pp. 118-147

"From the formation of the NCAA in 1906 through the release in 2001 of the Knight Commission's A Call to Action: Reconnecting College Sports and Higher Education, the commonly accepted notion regarding the history of reforms is that these efforts have been periodic..."

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REBUILD IT AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO COME

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pp. 148-187

"Higher education leaders have been trying to reform athletics for decades. Despite these efforts, Division I athletics continues to undermind the academic integrity and educational missions of our colleges and universities..."

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ARTICULATING AND MEETING RESPONSIBILITIES

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pp. 197-233

"There is a well-worn story about the doctor telling the patient, 'I’ve got good news and bad news regarding your health.' Well, here is the good news and bad news about the current health of college athletic reform. First..."

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COURAGE

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pp. 234-248

"In the movie Casablanca, there is a scene where Louie, the chief of the local French police, is ordered by the commander of the occupying German army to shut down Rick's Cafe', a nightclub-casino..."

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CHRONOLOGY OF COLLEGE ATHLETICS REFORM INITIATIVES

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pp. 249-259

"1895 The president of Purdue University calls together the presidents from the University of Illinois, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, and the University of Wisconsin to establish the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives."

REFERENCES

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pp. 261-264

INDEX

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pp. 265-270


E-ISBN-13: 9781604730746
E-ISBN-10: 1604730749
Print-ISBN-13: 9781578068388
Print-ISBN-10: 157806838X

Publication Year: 2006

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