Sports and Freedom

Sports and Freedom : The Rise of Big-Time College Athletics

3.9 (11 ratings by Goodreads)
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Perhaps more than any other two colleges, Harvard and Yale gave form to American intercollegiate athletics--a form that was inspired by the Oxford-Cambridge rivalry overseas, and that was imitated by colleges and universities throughout the United States. Focusing on the influence of these prestigious eastern institutions, this fascinating study traces the origins and development of intercollegiate athletics in America from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. Smith begins with an historical overview of intercollegiate athletics and details the evolution of individual sports--crew, baseball, track and field, and especially football. Then, skillfully setting various sports events in their broader social and cultural contexts, Smith goes on to discuss many important issues that are still relevant today: student-faculty competition for institutional athletic control; the impact of the professional coach on big-time athletics; the false concept of amateurism in college athletics; and controversies over eligibility rules. He also reveals how the debates over brutality and ethics created the need for a central organizing body, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which still runs college sports today. Sprinkled throughout with spicy sports anecdotes, from the Thanksgiving Day Princeton-Yale football game that drew record crowds in the 1890s to a meeting with President Theodore Roosevelt on football violence, this lively, in-depth investigation will appeal to serious sports buffs as well as to anyone interested in American social and cultural history.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 137.16 x 215.9 x 17.78mm | 453.59g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0195065824
  • 9780195065824
  • 2,110,358

Review quote

'Ronald Smith ... displays the same fastidious attention to detail research that distinguished his earlier work, The Saga of American Sports, in this timely and readable narrative. The extensive appendix, a product of many hours spent in search of primary sources in several college archives, anchors the discussion in each of the sixteen skilfully crafted, cleverly connected chapters.'
John M. Charles, College of William and Mary in Virginia, Journal of Educational Administration and History, Volume 24, Number 1, January 1992 `Smith carefully details the inception and rise of college sports and describes those factors leading to the gradual transfer of control from students to faculty. While tracing sports' extensive changes, he still reminds us of the pervasive elements of continuity. Appropriate for graduate students and upper-division undergraduates.' W.F. Gustafson, San Jose State University, Choice `Smith's careful study, the first in the Oxford University Press new Sports and History series, provides much needed historical perspective on an important contemporary issue.' Allen J. Share, Louisville Courier-Journal `Sports and Freedom is the best book ever written on the history of American intercollegiate athletics.' Reviews in American History
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About Ronald A. Smith

Ronald A. Smith is Professor Emeritus of Exercise and Sport Science at Pennsylvania State University. He has written, edited, or collaborated on several books on sport history, among them American Baseball, Big-Time Football at Harvard, 1905, and Saga of American Sport.
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Rating details

11 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 18% (2)
4 55% (6)
3 27% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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