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The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA [Kindle Edition]

Taylor Branch
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $3.99

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Book Description

"College athletes are not slaves," writes Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Taylor Branch in "The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA." "Yet to survey the scene—corporations and universities enriching themselves on the backs of uncompensated young men, whose status as 'student-athletes' deprives them of the right to due process guaranteed by the Constitution—is to catch the unmistakable whiff of the plantation."

Branch, best known for his award-winning trilogy about the civil rights movement, "Parting the Waters", argues that decades of greed and self-interest have finally caught up with the NCAA and that the organization is poised to collapse under the weight of its own hypocrisy.

From Reggie Bush and Cam Newton to Ohio State and the University of Miami, it's been one big sports scandal after another. But the true scandal, argues Branch in this gripping, deeply reported narrative, is the parasitic structure of college sports, a business that generates billions of dollars in revenue every year yet fails to provide even workers' compensation for its young performers. The outrage, he writes, is "not that students are getting illegally paid or recruited, it's that two of the noble principles by which the NCAA justifies its existence—'amateurism' and the 'student-athlete'—are cynical hoaxes, legalistic confections propagated by the universities so they can exploit the skills and fame of young athletes. The tragedy at the heart of college sports is not that some college athletes are getting paid, but that more of them are not."

A portion of "The Cartel" was first published in different form in the October 2011 issue of The Atlantic, and it set off a firestorm of controversy and an avalanche of praise. Sports Illustrated's Frank Deford, speaking on National Public Radio, said Branch’s story "may well be the most important article ever written about college sports."

Now the full, landmark story is available. "The Cartel" is classic investigative journalism of the highest order, by one of America's most admired historians.

"The Cartel" is published by Byliner through a partnership with The Atlantic.


Product Details

  • File Size: 870 KB
  • Print Length: 95 pages
  • Publisher: Byliner Inc. (September 21, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005OR497E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,225 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-read for Any College Sports Addict September 27, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Not a week goes by, it seems, without a new controversy or scandal engulfing college sports. Recruiting violations, boosters plying star athletes with phony jobs and new cars, etc.--you know the story before it even happens. And following each of these scandals is a round of hand-wringing by sports reporters and columnists decrying the influence of TV networks and apparel companies in what is supposed to be one of the last remaining realms of amateur athletics. But without fail, the scandals and stories about them fade from view, and nothing changes within the NCAA or college sports in general.

"The Cartel" by Taylor Branch could be--nay, should be--the piece of journalism that at last breaks through.

A celebrated historian of civil rights in America, Branch is uniquely suited to chronicle the shameful, greedy, dysfunctional NCAA and the world of college sports it claims to govern. Branch marshals a Titanic's worth of evidence to illustrate how badly college sports need reforming, and presents as compelling a case any for why college athletes should be paid.

His prescriptions, which also appeared in shorter form in The Atlantic magazine, have already sparked much debate and plenty of heated exchanges. "The Cartel" will only amplify that discussion.

So before you plop down on the couch and reach for a cold one before State U's next big game, read this story. You won't look at college sports the same.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fair assessment October 31, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
fair assessment by a great author. even if you disagree it is worth thinking about. something needs to be done.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Kindle KO of the NCAA and Big Time College Athletics January 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I attended the small liberal arts College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA ('92) and don't have the passion or experience of attending or rooting for a big time athletic school. Holy Cross was a critical force of establsihing the Patriot League and de-emphasizing big time athletics (of course, the cynic would say it was because they'd never compete at such a level) to focus on the student-athlete, with the emphasis on the first word, student.

With that as a preface, Taylor Branch wrote one the my favorite non-fiction books ever, "Parting the Waters" and his trilogy, "America in the King Years", is a monumental and magisterial work on the civil rights era. Branch delivers a KO punch on the NCAA, college athletics and the notion of amateurism in "The Cartel". Branch exposes the NCAA and the sham that it is, operating a vast cartel on the backs of primarily lower-income minorities (the sports that bring in the big money are college football and basketball), using them and spitting them out while they continue to mint money on their backs. Branch draws comparisons to the AAU and Olympic feud that got resolved via legislation in the late '70 and outlines the various legal challenges that must have the NCAA quite worried. It is only a matter of time that the foundation will start to crumble and it is clear that new NCAA President Mark Emmert is more keen on systemic change than his predecessor Myles Brand. It remains to be seen how much the rotten corpse that is the NCAA will change before it is forced to do so and do so in a dramatic way.

It is likely that "The Cartel" will meet its fair share of critics, however, Branch delivers a decisive blow that even the most hardened college sports fan will have a hard time rebutting. This is the best $2 I've spent in a while and is a must read for any sports fan or anyone that cares about civil rights.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a fascinating book to read. And, quite a bargain on Kindle. I'm not sure what I had thought the NCAA was. It was just always there when I was growing-up in the 1950's and 1960's. I never thought to question its power, or that it had the right to wield that power. Only in the last 15-20 years have I begun to ask myself these questions. As I often do when I finish a book, I was looking on Kindle in the lists of books available, and saw this, and thought it looked interesting. Mr. Branch has done an excellent job of giving the history of the organization, and its power. He also raises some good points about its future. Honestly, it is time to end the NCAA, and stop its nonsense. I urge everyone who cares about our young men and women [who have really been mistreated by the NCAA] to read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars deep June 1, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I though I knew a fair amount about the NCAA, boy was I wrong. Wonderful depth and eye opening revelations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking out for the "Student Athlete"? May 13, 2013
By bman560
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Cartel is a detailed history of the NCAA and its enforcement procedures to protect the "Student Athlete." The Cartel sheds light on the hypocrisy of the NCAA in its continual struggle to maintain its relevance in the money driven world of college sports. In addition, it provides detailed accounts of investigation techniques used by the NCAA against violations by "student athletes." Highly Reommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inside Scoop February 21, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great inside view of the NCAA and how the monster started and continues to grow written by one of the best historians/investigative writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars College Sports for Big Bucks April 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Taylor Branch presents an excellent history of the NCAA. He also brings to light the good and evil of the organization, particularly in the Bowl Championship Series and how it has corrupted the idea of "nationcal champions" with the teams that will bring the largest profits to both the media and the universities. He makes a great argument for a nationalfootball playoff, much like March Madness. Great read full of many anecdotes and funny stories.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Great read. A fascinating look at the NCAA and it's need for major reform. Must read for every student-athlete competing on scholarship at the college level.
Published 1 month ago by Kevin Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Best overview of the topic I have seen to date.
A very good read by a very competent and entertaining journalist. Odd for a subject that I have no real stake in to read something like this but the hypocrisy of the exploitation... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
Really enlightening about the "student athlete" experience at most higher Ed institutions. It is ridiculous how much money is poured into these programs.
Published 6 months ago by Alex Griswold
5.0 out of 5 stars Pay student athletes
Great insight to how evil the NCAA works! Its a shame that they refuse to pay student athletes! Hopefully change comes soon!
Published 14 months ago by Antjuan Wyatt
5.0 out of 5 stars Mob rules
That is shocking. Modern slavery witnessed by millions of people every Saturday. Guys working their butts off for nothing while NCAA and deans getting reacher and reacher. Read more
Published 17 months ago by J. Berger
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inside Look At College Sports
Deep down in you always thought it was true! Now The Cartel tells all. This gives all the facts. I live in Chapel Hill, N.C. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Michael P. Gates
5.0 out of 5 stars Portrait of the NCAA
This e-book, by noted historian and journalist Taylor Branch, is an indictment of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the "governing body" of all collegiate... Read more
Published 22 months ago by David W. Southworth
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