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Unpaid Professionals: Commercialism and Conflict in Big-Time College Sports

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691086903
ISBN-10: 0691086907
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Editorial Reviews


"In remarkably clear and clear-eyed prose (even his charts are readable), Zimbalist follows the money instead of the ball in the emotion-charged world of college sports."--Robert Lipsyte, New York Times

"Zimbalist got game! . . . A solid analysis of a segment of American life that Zimbalist claims is in dire need of reform. After reading this book, you'll find it hard to disagree with him. . . . Lots of food for thought here."--John Greenya, The Washington Post Book World

"Complete and authoritative. . . Zimbalist offers a stinging indictment of the system, how it works for some and victimizes others."--Mark Hyman, Business Week

"College sports are all about money, but no one has ever followed that money as closely as Zimbalist does. . . . [A] stunning catalog of excess and exploitation."--Booklist

"Although many of the problems facing college athletics today have been around for decades, the explosion of money and media attention has so raised the stakes that college sports is on the verge of self-destruction, argues Zimbalist (Baseball and Billions), a professor of economics at Smith College. . . . Zimbalist, who knows his way around the locker room and a balance sheet, provides a compelling case for the need to reform college athletics."--Publisher's Weekly

"Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College who has written extensively on the business side of sports, assays whether big-time sports are worth the wealth of problems they create for colleges and universities. . . . Zimbalist concludes with a ten point reform program, including such steps as gathering financial support from professional leagues, having a quota of paid non-matriculated athletes, cutting football scholarships nearly in half, shortening seasons, and eliminating freshman eligibility."--John M. Maxymuk, Library Journal

"Zimbalist believes that barring freshmen from competing would be another enormous step forward. To trim costs, he would dramatically cut football scholarships, pointing out that Notre Dame from 1945 to 1950 didn't lose a game and used just 38 players. He would shorten seasons, shorten practice hours, take away shoe contract windfalls from coaches. Zimbalist says he doesn't want to destroy college sports. He simply wants a "responsible analysis" to guide the future of the games and spectacles, reforms "to minimize the negative features but to preserve what people love." As you wait for the next big game--or the next big scandal--read Unpaid Professionals. It could turn you into a more thoughtful, discerning fan."--Jay Weiner, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"Zimbalist forcefully dispels the prevailing beliefs that big-time sports programs necessarily make money for their colleges. . . . The book is readable, solidly researched, and adds great clarity to a muddy debate."--Jon Morgan, The Baltimore Sun

"With Unpaid Professionals, sports economist Zimbalist adds significantly to a growing literature from researchers and practitioners on big-time college athletics. . . . Zimbalist brings the economist's eye for theory and empirical research to now-familiar topics."--Choice

"This book is a good recap of where college sports are now as both an economic and social force on campus with little to do with education. Zimbalist provides at least a discussion point about what can be done to improve the situation."--David Bush, The San Fransisco Chronicle

From the Back Cover

"Even for the best-intentioned coaches and athletic directors, the landscape of big-time college sports is increasingly treacherous. Is any part of the 'ideal' of college sports salvageable? Andrew Zimbalist's book makes a valuable contribution for the consideration of that question."--Bob Costas

"In the straightforward, analytical manner that is the trademark of his work, Zimbalist clarifies the contradictions inherent in the paradoxical marriage between higher education and big-time college athletics. He challenges the NCAA to come to grips with some of the less appealing by-products of the organization's phenomenal growth and success."--Billy Hunter, executive director, National Basketball Players Association

"It's impossible to read this unsparing examination of the tension between the noble ideals of the academy and the base reality of the athletic-industrial complex that the academy has created, and not wonder: Why do we put up with it?"--Alexander Wolff, senior writer with Sports Illustrated, coauthor of Raw Recruits

"Zimbalist has executed a masterful analysis of how and why colleges and universities have increasingly commercialized athletic programs. He unmasks the dichotomy of the 'student-athlete' and reveals the reality and shortcomings of their compensation systems. His insightful look at the economic and government pressures compounding this schizophrenic system and his recommendations for either changing it or more effectively coping make for 'must' reading by any student or fan of sports."--Donna A. Lopiano, Ph.D., Executive Director, Women's Sports Foundation

"Through hard-headed investigation, detailed analysis, and lively storytelling, Andrew Zimbalist confirms the truth about major college athletics: that commercial motives and rewards give lie to the very ideals that define higher education. Unpaid Professionals is the starting point for all readers interested in knowing how we reached this sad state of affairs, and how we can get beyond it."--Tom McMillen, Head of the President's Council on Physical Fitness, and former NBA player and US congressman

"Andrew Zimbalist's book shatters the myth of the purity of college athletics and exposes it for what it is, big business. This insightful look into college athletics should be required reading for all incoming student-athletes."--Jim McIlvaine, center, New Jersey Nets, NBA

"In the coming decade, as big-time college sports and the NCAA are increasingly attacked, particularly in the courts, you will often see Professor Andrew Zimbalist as an expert witness. No economist understands intercollegiate athletics better, nor can explain the greed and avarice of its proponents more coherently. Unpaid Professionals is Zimbalist's masterful summing up of the history of college sports, its present predicament, and its uncertain prospects. If every American interested in this subject read this book, real reform would come to big-time college sports."--Murray Sperber, author of Onward to Victory: The Crises That Shaped College Sports

"This is a superbly researched book, as might be expected from someone with Zimbalist's reputation and accomplishments. It contains more information on the history and inside workings of the NCAA than anything I have ever seen in print."--James Quirk, coauthor of Hard Ball and Pay Dirt


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (February 4, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691086907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691086903
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #913,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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on July 28, 2014
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