The Future of College Football
Title: The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football
Author(s): Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian
Synopsis: COLLEGE FOOTBALL has never been more popular—or more chaotic. Millions fill 100,000-seat stadiums every Saturday; tens of millions more watch on television every weekend. The 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama had a viewership of 26.4 million people, second only to the Super Bowl. Billions of dollars from television deals now flow into the game; the average budget for a top-ten team is $80 million; top coaches make more than $3 million a year; the highest paid, more than $5 million.
But behind this glittering success are darker truths: “athlete-students” working essentially full-time jobs with no share in the oceans of money; players who often don’t graduate and end their careers with broken bodies; “janitors” who clean up player misconduct; football “hostesses” willing to do whatever it takes to land a top recruit; seven-figure black box recruiting slush funds. And this: Despite the millions of dollars pouring into the game, 90 percent of major athletic departments still lose money. Yet schools remain caught up in an ever-escalating “arms race”—at the expense of academic scholarships, facilities and faculty.
Celebrated investigative journalists Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian were granted unprecedented access during the 2012 season to programs at the highest levels across the country at a time of convulsive change in college football. Through dogged reporting, they explored every nook and cranny of this high-powered machine, and reveal how it operates from the inside out. The result: the system through the eyes of athletic directors and coaches, high-flying boosters and high-profile TV stars, five-star recruits and tireless NCAA investigators and the kids on whom the whole vast enterprise depends.
Both a celebration of the power and pageantry of NCAA football and a groundbreaking, thought-provoking critique of its excesses, The System is the definitive book on the college game.
(synopsis found on book page at Amazon.com here)
About the Author(s): Jeff Benedict is an author with a law degree. He has written many non-fiction books, on top of being a regular contributor to Sports Illustrated online and a professor of English at Southern Virginia University. For his full bio and bibliography, visit Amazon here.
Armen Keteyian is a television journalist as well as an author. He’s won 8 Emmy’s for his work on the sports beat on several major networks, including CBS. For his bio, please visit CBS News here.
First Impression: I’m always up to try something new – this time, non-fiction is it!
Final Thoughts: Although I did not appreciate this book, it doesn’t mean that you won’t. It’s had great reviews across the board. But, in my opinion, you really have to love and understand college football for this book to be worth reading.
My Suggestion: If football isn’t your thing, avoid this. If it might be, get it from the library. If you’re a fanatic, add it to your collection.
Star Rating: (which reflects only my opinion on the book)