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Varsity Green: A Behind the Scenes Look at Culture and Corruption in College Athletics Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford Economics and Finance (December 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804769699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804769693
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

According to veteran sports-business journalist Yost, there never was a "golden era" of college sports, when gentlemen scholars learned sportsmanship and teamwork; rather, sports have always been a means for colleges to earn money, power, and esteem, too often resulting in illiterate college athletes and corrupt athletic programs. The difference today is the scale: the Rose Bowl, though no longer the highest earning bowl game, generates more than $570 million for the Southern California economy; Nike pays millions in multiyear contracts with universities including Florida State, Michigan, North Carolina, and Illinois; and of the kids who devote their life to a particular sport, less than two percent will have a meaningful professional career. Yost reveals college sports as little more than a "machine that churns out kids for America's elite basketball, football, and hockey leagues," sacrificing young people's futures for big money and bragging rights. At times, Yost seems unsure whether to play the worldly reporter or the wide-eyed innocent, but his report is mostly thorough and largely well-written; conspicuously left out, however, are. the voices of the athletes themselves. Still, this intelligent critique of the U.S. college athletics makes a captivating examination of America's infatuation with money, celebrity, and sports.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"According to veteran sports-business journalist Yost, there never was a 'golden era' of college sports, when gentlemen scholars learned sportsmanship and teamwork; rather, sports have always been a means for colleges to earn money, power, and esteem, too often resulting in illiterate college athletes and corrupt athletic programs. ...(T)his intelligent critique of the U.S. college athletics makes a captivating examination of America's infatuation with money, celebrity, and sports."—Publishers Weekly


"This provocative look at college athletics by sports and business journalist Yost is sure to start some conversations. In no uncertain terms, Yost accuses the NCAA of being morally bankrupt and exploiting poor, inner-city youth as chattel that feeds a protection racket lining the pockets of the rich and powerful. ...Yost's book focuses primarily on football but will appeal widely to anyone with an interest in high school or college athletics. Though clearly opinionated, it is an excellent primer on the business of college sports."—Library Journal


"The most informed, most dogged analyst of the finances of sports is clearly Mark Yost. Are the hand-wringing, issue-concerned administrators of college sports ready for him? He's ready for them." —Bob Boyles, co-author, The USA TODAY College Football Encyclopedia


"In Varsity Green, Mark Yost joins the voices outside the stadium or fieldhouse who decry the hypocrisy and corruption in college athletics, and in weaving together the many aspects and actors he demonstrates that the madness is not just confined to March."—Allen R. Sanderson, University of Chicago


"Mark Yost lays bare the sordid details of the corrupting influence big money has on college athletics and academic integrity at many of our institutions of higher learning. The writing is entertaining, the facts disturbing."—Dennis Coates, Department of Economics, UMBC

More About the Author

Mark Yost has been a professional writer for more than 25 years. He worked on The Wall Street Journal editorial page, both in New York and Brussels, and was a reporter for the Dow Jones Newswires. He has written extensively about arts, culture, books, cars, travel and the business of sports for the Journal, the New York Times, Sports Illustrated and other publications.
Mark Yost is the author of four nonfiction books, most recently, "Varsity Green: A Behind the Scenes Look at the Culture and Corruption of College Athletics."
In Spring 2012, Mark Yost published his first novel, "Soft Target," introducing readers to Nick Mattera, a former Marine Corps explosives expert turned Chicago firefighter who runs into two al Qaeda terrorists who decide to open up a whole new in the War on Terror on the North Shore of Chicago. Add in an ambitious politician and Rachel Cohen, his gorgeous chief of staff who falls in love with Nick, and you have a fast-paced, action-packed, pulled-from-the-headlines story that has been described by reviewers as "Tom Clancy meets Backdraft meets Fifty Shades of Grey."
In December 2013, Yost will release "The Cartel," the second book in the Nick Mattera Series and another all-too-real story. In "The Cartel," a newly elected President legalizes marijuana. But instead of ceding one of the most lucrative drug markets in the world to the U.S. government, the head of a powerful Mexican drug cartel decides to fight back. And the epicenter of this blockbuster tale of international intrigue is the neighborhood around Nick Mattera's firehouse.
In addition to being a writer, Mark Yost is also a part-time firefighter and paramedic, which makes his tales all the more believable. Drawing from his own real-life experiences, "The Cartel" weaves a tale that's far too believable. Add in the steamy romance that continues between Nick and Rachel, and "The Cartel" is a book that early reviewers have said they simply can't put down.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We're all accustomed to hearing too many stories about badly behaving college athletes, many of whom might flunk a basic literacy test, and lavish college sports facilities. Even as many of us roll our eyes at these shenanigans and examples of misplaced priorities, we still tune in religiously to follow our favorite college teams -- a paradox that is at the heart of this intriguing book about the business of college sports.

I can easily see that nobody engaged in this world will be happy with what Mark Yost finds after he turns his keen eye on it. Those boosters who claim that the current system is a win-win, giving colleges great teams and youngsters a chance at an education, will be infuriated by Yost's damning indictment of an educational system that encourages young people to believe that they have a real shot at going pro via a college team (in fact, in a too-often repeated statistic, he notes that 3% of high school athletes will get a college scholarship; only 2% of those will have any kind of pro career) and then after coddling them and sheltering them from reality, abandons them to sink or swim when they tear a ligament and can't generate any revenue for the institution. On the other hand, those on the academic side will likely not enjoy Yost's even-handed analysis: he points out that a lot of the revenue from successful and profitable athletic teams actually helps subsidize academic programs and that so far, there is little proof that athletic donations are cannibalizing those to academic chairs and other programs.

This is an intriguing look behind the scenes at some of the top coaches, the top donors, the administrators and the boosters.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Hagedorn on May 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
For anyone who has a love for college sports, this book is a must read. It confirms what we fans have suspected for years, that college football, basketball, and a few other sports (hockey, baseball) have been tainted by professionalism. In fact, it is really hard to call the players in these big revenue-producing sports "amateurs" and to think of them as "students."

I would have given the book 5 stars but for a few problems. On the positive side, Yost's writing style is engaging and well-paced. And the insight that he provides gives one the feel of being an insider in the business of college sports. Still, there are a few problems with the book. First, he relies quite a bit on other books, leaving me wishing that he had gotten more direct quotes from people in college athletics and related businesses. Perhaps they were reluctant to talk to him. Second, at times he repeats himself. The worst case of this is in the Epilogue, where he repeats a lot of material, for example, the discussion of the critic Nathan Tublitz and APR and GSR rates.

But my complaints aside, I found this book to be an easy, engaging read and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in college athletics, higher education, and the uneasy relationship between the two.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book was informative and is a good read for anyone who does not like what is going on in the NCAA. There was very little suggestion to what can be done with the problems that exist, other than change the leadership, but that has been the thoughts of many people for a long time. Must make the rule book smaller!!
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By anthoy rotelli on January 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
good description of high level college athletics. i supected it was like this and this confirms my suspicion somewhat repetitive Varsity Green
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By Matt Whitten on December 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
With book being a couple years old and college football is changing everyday its hard to keep up with up-to-date information.
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