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"Billion-Dollar Ball" by Gilbert M. Gaul is the September pick-of-the-month with Aaron's Books in Lititz.
Two-time Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Gilbert M. Gaul takes on the big business of college football in Billion-Dollar Ball: A Journey Through the Big-Money Culture of College Football.
Gaul offers a riveting and sometimes shocking look inside the money culture of college football and how it has come to dominate some of our best, most prestigious universities, reframing campus values, distorting academic missions, and transforming athletic departments into astonishingly rich entertainment factories.
What are the consequences when, in over half the states, college football coaches are the highest paid public employees, or when football players at some schools receive ten times the amount of scholarship awards that academically gifted students do?
Over the past decade college football has not only doubled in size, but its elite programs have become a $2.5-billion-a-year entertainment business, with lavishly paid coaches, lucrative television deals, and corporate sponsors eager to slap their logos on everything from scoreboards to footballs and uniforms. Profit margins among the top football schools range from 60% to 75% - results that dwarf those of such high-profile companies as Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. In most cases, those windfalls are not passed on to the universities themselves, but flow directly back into their athletic departments.
College presidents have been unwilling or powerless to stop a system that has spawned a wildly profligate infrastructure of coaches, trainers, marketing gurus, and a growing cadre of bureaucrats whose sole purpose is to ensure that players remain academically eligible to play. From the University of Oregon's lavish $42 million academic center for athletes to Alabama coach Nick Saban's $7 million paycheck - ten times what the school pays its president, and 70 times what a full-time professor there earns, Gaul examines in depth the extraordinary financial model that supports college football and the effect it has had not only on other athletic programs but on academic ones as well.
Gilbert M. Gaul twice won the Pulitzer Prize and has been shortlisted for the Pulitzer four other times. For more than thirty-five years, he worked as an investigative journalist for The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer and other newspapers. He has reported on non-profit organizations, the business of college sports, homeland security, the black market for prescription drugs and problems in the Medicare program.
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