Friday, September 23, 2011

Win a copy of The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA

UPDATE: Dan won and has been contacted.

Now available as a Kindle single The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA by Taylor Branch:

"College athletes are not slaves," writes Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Taylor Branch in "The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA." "Yet to survey the scene—corporations and universities enriching themselves on the backs of uncompensated young men, whose status as 'student-athletes' deprives them of the right to due process guaranteed by the Constitution—is to catch the unmistakable whiff of the plantation."

Branch, best known for his award-winning trilogy about the civil rights movement, "Parting the Waters", argues that decades of greed and self-interest have finally caught up with the NCAA and that the organization is poised to collapse under the weight of its own hypocrisy.

From Reggie Bush and Cam Newton to Ohio State and the University of Miami, it's been one big sports scandal after another. But the true scandal, argues Branch in this gripping, deeply reported narrative, is the parasitic structure of college sports, a business that generates billions of dollars in revenue every year yet fails to provide even workers' compensation for its young performers. The outrage, he writes, is "not that students are getting illegally paid or recruited, it's that two of the noble principles by which the NCAA justifies its existence—'amateurism' and the 'student-athlete'—are cynical hoaxes, legalistic confections propagated by the universities so they can exploit the skills and fame of young athletes. The tragedy at the heart of college sports is not that some college athletes are getting paid, but that more of them are not."

A portion of "The Cartel" was first published in different form in the October 2011 issue of The Atlantic, and it set off a firestorm of controversy and an avalanche of praise. Sports Illustrated's Frank Deford, speaking on National Public Radio, said Branch’s story "may well be the most important article ever written about college sports."

Now the full, landmark story is available. "The Cartel" is classic investigative journalism of the highest order, by one of America's most admired historians.
You can download it now at Amazon.

I have a digital copy to give away (through Amazon). For a chance to win, just comment on this post and include your email so I can contact you. One comment per person. I'll pick a winner Sunday evening. This contest is open worldwide.



  2. Very curious to check this out - my instinct says college athletes shouldn't get paid, since they're getting a free education in return for their playing time, and often get better treatment than other students. Plus, the rest of us have to pay dues before we enter the workforce, and no one's forcing them to play sports while going to school. But I'd like to hear his argument. Thanks for running the contest!

  3. HUH. That's certainly interesting to me, as someone who went to a big 12 school.


  4. Sounds interesting. I am of two minds on paying college athletes. I do feel that at the very least the NCAA should allow their athletes to hire an agent and promote themselves and get endorsement deals.

    If universities were to start directly paying their athletes though I think that would spell the end of college football as we know it.

    When we are talking about this subject it's really only about football and to a much lesser degree basketball, virtually all other sports lose money most of the time on most campuses.

    In any case, I would love to read this, my email is

  5. husband would love to read this book! Thanks for offering it :).

  6. sounds super interesting...i'm not even an american or a college football fan, but i'm intrigued...