This introductory chapter first sets out the book's purpose, which is to synthesize the narrative of college sports history since 1950 in order to convey a fuller understanding of how and why “game changers” have created today's intercollegiate athletic landscape. These game changers involve money, media, race, gender, and reform. The chapter also traces the development of American college sports, which emerged in the mid-nineteenth century from the efforts by male undergraduates to engage in out-of-the-classroom activity independent from the strict faculty control that governed their college lives. By the early twenty-first century, the reality of commercialism and professionalism within the idealistic realm of amateurism characterized college sports more than ever before. A brief overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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