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Varsity Green

This article is more than 10 years old.
Mark Yost’s book about corruption in big time college sports is not likely to change the way most fans of division one college football and basketball feel about their teams. Said fans already know that lots of the players are attached to the schools as athletes rather than as students, and that the efforts of those athletes sometimes make money for the colleges where they play.

But Yost includes specific material to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the NCAA, which he calls a cartel and compares to the mafia. He demonstrates that when colleges and universities have invited boosters to pay the salaries of coaches, they have made athletic directors and college presidents junior partners at best in running the sports enterprises at their own schools. He convincingly maintains that “the real winners” are the men who draw enormous salaries for serving on football’s bowl committees, while the real losers, much more often than not, are the athletes who’ve been seduced into believing that signing on as “the entertainment product” at a division one school will necessarily lead to lucrative employment in the NFL or the NBA.

Mark Yost’s book is unlikely to change anything about the way the major college football and basketball programs operate. The NCAA, the television networks that broadcast the bowl games and the basketball tournaments, the shoe companies, the boosters, and college sports fans are too happy with the status quo. The same can be said of officials at lots of the colleges and universities involved in the sports industry, since successful teams do sometimes increase alumni giving and applications. But Varsity Green explains that the entertainment and the benefits come at the cost of integrity, just in case anybody still thinks that’s a viable concern in big time college sports.

This program aired on February 18, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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