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The SportsThink Weekly Read #6
December 3, 2021
The SportsThink Weekly Read highlights my favorite sport-related article of the week. On the last Friday of each month, I send out the Monthly Review, a longer digest of readings and other content of interest. Most articles are recently published, but some are not; the only rule is that I’ve read them within the past week (or the past month, in the case of the Monthly Review). Some are relevant to my day job as a professor teaching courses on the business, history, and philosophy of sports. Others are just plain interesting, relevant to my life-long obsession with the games we play. The newsletter is free, but comes with two requests. 1. I’m always open to suggestions, so send me the good stuff that you read! 2. If you enjoy the newsletter, please share it with other folks who might enjoy it as well. Finally, I try to focus on non-paywalled writing, but if you find yourself unable to access anything, just hit reply to the email and I’ll do my best to get you a copy. Thanks for reading!
The Weekly Read
Season's greetings, dear readers. I hope the start of December finds you well. My apologies for leaving you read-less these last two weeks. Between Thanksgiving, a nasty cold that ran through the household, and the end of the semester workload, the newsletter just wasn't happening. Looking at the calendar, you can expect another Weekly Read next week, then a "Monthly" Review in the lead up to Christmas. This one will be big, reaching back to November and will include some end of the year wrap up as well. I'll then take a couple weeks off and get back to it in January. Let's get on to the Weekly Read... ‘The Schools Clearly Aren’t in Control’: Inside College Football’s Wild Week, by Ross Dellenger, Pat Forde, and Richard Johnson, via Sports Illustrated. "For better or worse, there is no multibillion-dollar sporting entity in this country structured like college sports—nonprofit entities that are engaged in a zero-sum competition against other universities." A solid review of the unexpected hirings of college football coaches Lincoln Riley (USC) and Brian Kelly (LSU) and the implications of these moves on the future of college athletics. I can't get too worked about the dollar amounts...markets being what they are and all that. I guess we just add those numbers to concerns about the misguided priorities of the current American project. What does grate is the smiling duplicity of these men who beat the drums of family, values, commitment, etc. Stewards of young men preparing to "go pro in real life?" These are the po-faced mountebanks who tell us that college athletes entering the transfer portal are selfish and lacking in character and then abandon their teams DURING THE SEASON when the Brinks truck backs up to their door. Reports suggest that the coaches spent about 4 minutes combined addressing the teams they were bailing on. Seriously. (And let's not forget that Kelly oversaw a staff that felt filming a football practice was so important that they sent a student videographer up a hydraulic lift in 60MPH winds, leading to his death. RIP Declan Sullivan.) The other layer of course is the constant hand-wringing over athletic department finances and how there isn't actually that much money to go around. Especially for the athletes, who, you know, provide the labor. Speaking of the athletes, my only real gripe with this article is that the authors interviewed almost 20 "insiders" but exactly 0 athletes. As a corrective, here's a tangentially related piece on NIL by Appalachian State strong safety Kaiden Smith. Sorry for the vitriol, it just happens sometimes. As always, thanks for reading. See you next week, Tolga