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The Game of Life:
College Sports and Educational Values
James L. Shulman & William G. Bowen
With a new preface by the authors

Book Description | Table of Contents
Preface [HTML] or [PDF format] | Prelude [HTML] or [PDF format]


"Perhaps the most surprising findings in The Game of Life are that elite colleges put more emphasis on athletics than most of us would have suspected."--Andrew Hacker, New York Review of Books

"Shulman and Bowen have done the world a great service by asking some difficult questions about some obvious issues and tenaciously digging out more reliable answers than anyone hitherto has come up with."--Alan Ryan, Times Higher Education Supplement

"Shulman and Bowen, both first-rate scholars, thoughtfully and methodically mine a rich database, providing an inside view of current practices and outcomes, and of how the system has evolved over half a century. . . . This volume . . . will attract a large audience; it should cause college trustees, administrators, faculty, alumni, state legislators, families, and sports fans everywhere to rethink their own values and decisions."--Choice

"What Shulman and Bowen add to the discussion is evidence that, with the quasi professionalization of college sports in recent years, student athletes belong more and more to an academic subculture in which superior intellectual performance is rare and not particularly valued. The old image of the athlete emerging from college intellectually as well as physically tested seems less and less a reality than a pleasant myth."--Andrew Delbanco, The New York Times Book Review


"College athletics have changed dramatically over the past fifty years. The authors present insightful research that is far more credible than the usual anecdotal commentaries on such topics. They document the increasing specialization by athletes, the effects of the relatively rapid evolution of women's participation, and the way that college sports are deeply intertwined with the ways that secondary and primary schools approach athletics. The Game of Life captures how these dynamics have had a profound effect on the current relevance of athletics to the academy and places these issues of significance squarely on the fifty yard line for college presidents and trustees. The question is will they be willing (or able) to accept the challenge?"--Richard W. Kazmaier, Jr., 1951 Heisman Trophy Winner, Member of the Knight Commission in Intercollegiate Athletics

"This is an excellent addition to the sports-education literature and will have a broad appeal. The set of issues Shulman and Bowen lay out are important and timely. That they base their conclusions on solid empirical work from an excellent database and provide both contemporary and longitudinal perspectives are added bonuses."--Allen Sanderson, University of Chicago

"This path-breaking study of intercollegiate athletics is rich in detail, long on perspective and enlightening in insights and conclusions. Shulman and Bowen have tested-and refuted-many of the popular assumptions concerning intercollegiate athletics with a pervasive body of empirical data spanning over twenty years. They document the increasing tensions, if not conflict, between athletics and the academic mission of institutions of higher education. Moreover, the study reveals that many of the same issues that bedeviled 'big time' intercollegiate athletics are now manifested in women's athletics and the programs of Ivy League and smaller, liberal arts institutions. No starry-eyed idealists, the authors recognize the complexity and sensitivity of the issues involved but offer a set of propositions to begin the task of restoring balance between academic values and the appetites of intercollegiate athletics. This book should command the attention of university presidents and trustees and all those fans and alumni who hope to cheer their teams to victory."--Arnold R. Weber, President Emeritus, Northwestern University

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File created: 4/21/2017

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