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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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Scandal, Reorganization, and the Devolution of the Student Athlete

Scandal, Reorganization, and the Devolution of the Student Athlete

(p.105) 6 Scandal, Reorganization, and the Devolution of the Student Athlete
Changing the Playbook

Howard P. Chudacoff

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses the NCAA's efforts to restore academic respectability to college sports. For decades, the college sports establishment promoted rules of fair play and a level playing field in public, while coaches and boosters surreptitiously sought ways to evade those rules. However, the alarming spate of cheating and fraud in the 1970s and 1980s stirred up efforts at reform. Those efforts, however, did not lead in the direction that might have been anticipated from the overt events. Though related to the scandals, the major turning points of the era had mixed consequences. Changes in the playbook of college sports between 1973 and 1991 were bounded by two major landmarks. The first, the 1973 NCAA legislation putting Division I athletic grants-in-aid (scholarships) on a one-year renewable basis, highlighted the transformation of the student-athletes into athlete-students, whose commercial value could sometimes prompt others to cheat in order to attract and retain them. The second, the 1991 Knight Foundation report, “Keeping Faith with the Student Athlete,” revealed how pervasive the need for ethics reform had become and, in its weak aftereffects, the power the athletic establishment could exert to contain reform and continue the quest for revenue in what had become a high-stakes business.

Keywords:   American college sports, scandal, cheating, fraud, NCAA, scholarships, Knight Foundation, ethics reform

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