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Changing the PlaybookHow Power, Profit, and Politics Transformed College Sports$
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Howard P. Chudacoff

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039782

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039782.001.0001

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Television and College Sports as Mass Entertainment

Television and College Sports as Mass Entertainment

(p.45) 3 Television and College Sports as Mass Entertainment
Changing the Playbook

Howard P. Chudacoff

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses how television changed college sports. From the 1950s to the 1970s, the NCAA pursued deals worth millions of dollars with commercial, for-profit networks instead of with nonprofit, public radio and television, where the link between athletics and higher education might have been maintained and the commercialism of intercollegiate athletics restrained. The college sports establishment chose an economic playbook that promised direct benefit to athletics and to the institutions in which they operated. Televised football increased the visibility of a few privileged schools, but the bulk of money an institution derived from TV appearances went to support athletics. The schools themselves willingly complied with television policy so they could use television revenues and booster contributions inspired by TV exposure to pay for sports rather than to fund them from the educational budget. Thus, the commercial route was the one taken. While the NCAA may have exerted control over who played football on television, the networks found ways to use dollar appeal and flex their muscle to stretch television policy in their favor.

Keywords:   American college sports, television, NCCA, television networks, television policy, televised football

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