Blog Entry

Podcast: The Sham of College Sports

Posted on: September 16, 2011 9:11 am
Edited on: September 16, 2011 9:27 am
By Matt Norlander

About 90 words into Taylor Branch's 14,700-word behemoth of a takedown on the NCAA, "The Shame of College Sports," I knew I had to have him on the podcast. Getting him, though, I thought would be a high-wire act because "The Atlantic" was booking him on CNN, as well as other national television and radio programs.

The little old CBS Sports College Basketball Podcast? Well, getting a Pulitzer-Prize winning writer on turned out to be no sweat, and Branch was a delight. Serious credibility boost for the podcast, too! Branch has written about subjects with much more consequence than the world of sports (his Pulitzer came after he wrote on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.), so his perspective was, I felt, a fresh one. Frank Deford already called this, arguably, "the most important article ever written about college sports."

I wanted to get into why and how Branch wrote the story as much as the story itself and his new-founded opinions of the NCAA. So we cover about as much as I could squeeze into 35 minutes: his interview process; what the NCAA told him and why it's quoted so sparsely in the story; how unstable the institution really is; why the former North Carolina athletic director believes his school would fold all sports if college players got paid; how soon we could see major schools break away from the NCAA; and so much more.

If I could have, I would have made this podcast twice as long, because the topic deserves it. Point remains: it was my pleasure to have such an accomplished writer hop on. I think I need to chase these kinds of guys a bit more; who needs Goodman and Parrish on a regular basis, right?

And again, here's the link for iTunes subscription. The podcast goes up a few minutes after it's live here on the blog, so be sure to subscribe. Or, if you're just hanging out, click the player below and enjoy.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: September 17, 2011 2:10 pm

Friends, please listen to this podcast

The material that Matt covers with Taylor Branch undermines so much about the NCAA, who they are and what they do to exploit student athletes. It is pure explosive stuff. Taylor Branch comes to the subject with a fresh mind (a baseball fan) and a professional writer's perspective. He spent four months researching the subject of amateurism in college athletes. He fires a broadside into the NCAA that may sink them.

Perhaps even more important he predicts that big time college basketball will be converted to super conferences holding their own tournament for basketball, controlling the $750M from the tournament now used to fund the NCAA. The courts have already established the right to negotiate their own TV contracts for conferences and schools (football).

The plea to listen to the podcast is that the material and the clear credibility from Taylor Branch demands to be heard. My view is not so much shaken by his findings, many of us have suspected as much. But his findings are compelling to demand a change, even though it loses us so much if college sports are dropped. The simple changes can come from paying players and providing workmen’s compensation for those who are injured, just like your job and mine. These players work harder than most of us and receive almost nothing. A brilliant get, Matt. And for the record,'s eye On College Basketball is a big time blog. Perhaps newer members will be drawn, to their benefit.

Since: Sep 16, 2011
Posted on: September 16, 2011 10:26 am

Podcast: The Sham of College Sports

Matt, why didn't you discuss with him his characterization of the NCAA as "paternalistic" and plantation-like, resembling American slavery? I found the comparison he made to be very compelling. Like many i'm sure, I would be interested to hear his comments going deeper into it than was done in the article. 

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