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Bowled Over: Big-Time College Football from the Sixties to the BCS Era Hardcover – November 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807833290
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807833292
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Oriard writes with considerable grace and offers a realistic interpretation of the evolution of college football over the last half-century. . . . Original and effective. . . . An immensely interesting and important study of college football.--Journal of the Review of Politics

A gripping and insightful exploration of many of the issues that have affected big-time football programs in the sixties, seventies, and beyond.--Nebraska History

An impressive and realist assessment of college football's recent history.--Journal of American Studies

Should appeal to the general reader. . . . [A] well-written book.--Enterprise and Society

The most thorough, balanced, and eviscerating examination of contemporary big-time college athletics to date. . . . Oriard has cemented his position as the definitive interpreter of football in American culture.--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

A solid resource for those interested in the culture of sport. . . . Highly recommended.--Choice

A solid work that will certainly contribute to the dialogue of sports history and the management of college football. It is well-written, persuasively argued, and, above all, deeply insightful….[The] book can effectively contribute to two audiences: scholars and general readers.--Florida Historical Quarterly


Sprightly, well researched, and unusually insightful, Bowled Over makes a wonderful addition to football history.--Benjamin G. Rader, University of Nebraska

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Michael Oriard, a former Notre Dame and Kansas City Chief player writes, what is essentially a history of big-time college football from the 60's to the beginnings of today's big bowl championships. For those who believe in a scholar athlete he says proposing reforms is a fool's task.
There are some interesting charts and statistics included that compare and show SAT scores , graduation rates, the college program's expenses and revenues.
He includes some interesting points: how the jocks of the 60's became the law and order types - the straight guys as opposed to the hippies and protestors, even the NCAA supported the Vietnam War. The problems of integrating college football, and the beginnings of player protests are covered. He sums up a huge factor in the change of college football because of the introduction of the one year scholarship where it was contingent on the coach's satisfaction with the athlete, not his academic scholarship. The grade scandals are covered as is the player's growing sense of entitlement and bad, even criminal behavior.

All of this is not news for anyone who even half way listens to the sports news, but it is somewhat of an eye-opener to see the facts gathered here. It can be a depressing book for those with an optimistic and glorified picture of college football; but anyone interested in sports, especially football and even the social history of the changes brought about by the 60's might enjoy reading this book.
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By K. Teel on April 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After a brief history of college football and the founding of the NCAA, Oriard focuses on the history of college football from the 1960s-2000s and details how the controversies about integration and students' attitudes in the 1960s led to reactionary measures by coaches, university administrations, and the NCAA. In these reactions, Oriard argues, were the seeds for the rise of the multi-million dollar entertainment industry that college football is today. The NCAA emerges as reluctant to reform itself, hypocritical, and most of all greedy. According to Oriard, the idea of "student-athlete" is a sham: an unattainable ideal in today's money-driven big-time college football environment. What is even more sobering is that he wrote the book in March 2009; the system is, if anything, even worse in 2012.

Well-written and researched, with some interesting perspectives from Oriard's own past as a Notre Dame football player in the 1960s and pro player with the Kansas City Chiefs. There are some illustrations and tables.

For the Kindle edition: Unfortunately, this book has not been optimized for an e-reader. The illustrations are small and very dark. There are wide multicolumn tables that would span a 2-page spread in the paper edition and these are basically unusable on the Kindle. There are some typos and occasional odd text formatting (like no space between words). If you need this book for serious research, I recommend buying the paper edition or getting it from a library. For the casual reader -- especially if you don't care about the tables and illustrations -- the Kindle edition is okay for reading but a little expensive given that it's not optimized for an e-reader.
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