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By John R. Gerdy

John R. Gerdy has noticeable approximately each part of athletics. he's the son of a highschool soccer trainer; he was once an All-American basketball participant, a legislative assistant for the nationwide Collegiate Atheltic organization, and he served as an affiliate commissioner for the Southeastern convention. In Air Ball: American Education’s Failed scan with Elite Athletics, Gerdy brings all of these views to endure and argues that the yankee process of college and group athletics is damaged. yet he's no mere naysayer. He bargains a daring, revolutionary blueprint for reforming athletics to satisfy our country’s academic and public future health wishes. Given larger education’s old position of delivering management in our society, the initiative to revive a extra brilliant stability among athletics and schooling needs to commence with the reform of big-time collage athletics. regardless of frequent public skepticism concerning larger education’s skill to alter the process, Gerdy argues that the chance for reform hasn't ever been higher. utilizing a provocative mixture of study and considerate remark, he argues that, for the 1st time within the heritage of yankee better schooling, the serious mass of individuals, firms, and outdoors pressures essential to force and maintain innovative, systemic reform of the school athletic firm is in position.

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Yet, we do not mind our addiction. In fact, we embrace it. Sport is pure; it is wholesome; it embodies the “American Way,” showcasing champions and providing us with winners to worship and emulate. We do not mind our addiction to sport because it is the All-American Addiction. And because it is All-American, we do not believe we suffer any consequences from it. But we do. Day after day the sports pages present us with examples of the negative effects of the win-at-any-cost mentality that drives our sports culture.

Not only are the skills necessary for economic success changing, but the pool of workers American children must compete against for the jobs of the future is increasing dramatically. Pulitzer Prize–winning author Thomas L. Friedman, in his provocative book The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century and in other pieces, describes the increased competition as the “flattening” of the world: For so many years, America’s economy was so dominant on the world stage, so out front in so many key areas, that we fell into the habit of competing largely against ourselves.

The prospect of organizing these disparate elements into any coordinated reform effort is highly unlikely. But if the philosophy and operating principles of college athletics were fundamentally reformed, our state high school associations and local youth sports 25 26 BEYOND THE IVY-COVERED WALLS organizations would surely note the example and might feel pressured to initiate their own reforms. Because college athletics operates under a national umbrella, governed by single national entities (NCAA, National Junior College Athletic Association [NJCAA], and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics [NAIA]), a coordinated reform effort is quite achievable.

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