From Library Journal
This is a very well-researched and thorough academic treatment of the ever-evolving symbiotic relationship between college athletics and the broadcast media. Smith's (Sports and Freedom: The Rise of Big-Time College Athletics) narrative is not arranged chronologically; instead, chapters jump back and forth in time to fit a wide variety of topics reflecting the commercial predisposition of this association. Although heavy with endnotes, the text is fairly lively for a work of this nature. Another welcome feature is a detailed, exhaustive time line of the intersecting strands of college sports and electronic media over the years. An additional bonus that closes the book is its helpful bibliographic essay, which functions as a literature review covering archives, general works, legal issues, and periodical literature and should be a boon for further research. Recommended for all academic libraries. John Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ. Lib., Camden, NJ
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Very well researched and thorough... A welcome feature is a detailed, exhaustive time line of the intersecting strands of college sports and electronic media over the years. An additional bonus that closes the book is its helpful bibliographic essay, which functions as a literature review covering archives, general works, legal issues, and periodic literature and should be a boon for further research.
In addition to its obvious appeal to sports fans, Play by Play provides an interesting examination of how society deals with new innovations and their changes over time, the conditions under which cartels attempt to organize, and the factors in their success or failure.
(Stanley L. Engerman Journal of Economic History
Based on a nearly exhaustive investigation into the primary sources, including some fifty archives,... Smith's research makes abundantly clear that the presidents and athletic departments of America's leading education institutions have consistently tried to use the media—newspaper, radio, and television—for their own gain.
(Randy Roberts Journal of American History
Smith's book provides a mother lode of information for those interested in the merger of big-time sports with big-time media... Smith has clearly combined a fan's interest with a scholar's devotion in researching his subject.
(Thomas Alan Holmes Aethlon
No one knows more than Ronald A. Smith about the history of intercollegiate sports in the United States... [ Play-by-Play] offers an extraordinarily detailed historical examination of the relationship among top-flight college sports (principally football), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and television.
(Warren Goldstein American Historical Review
A well-researched, historical analysis... Provides an often troubling account of the corruptive power of money, broken promises, misguided priorities, crushed dreams and academic compromises. Not exactly uplifting stuff, but required reading for anyone who wants to gain a greater understanding of why it's too often true that concerns about the records of a university's football and basketball teams seem more important than the quality of a school's faculty or the educating of its students.
(K. Tim Wulfemeyer Journalism and Mass Communication Educator
Many authors have written celebrations—or diatribes—about the commercialism of college sports. Smith is more interesting and effective because he evades the polemics and settles for reconstructing and interpreting a fascinating tale. The episodes and details, the names and places—these are hard to research, and Smith does it. As a result, his story jumps out in its appeal and interpretation.
(John R. Thelin, University of Kentucky)