More Michigan (or College Sports) Investigative Reporting-Style Books

Submitted by mgokev on September 1st, 2015 at 10:35 AM

In light of the JUB release, I thought I'd use this forum to ping the MGoReadership for more investigative reporting-style books on college athletics you've enjoyed.

The rules: 

  1. Has to be investigative-style - no biographies or opinion pieces.
  2. Has to be about Michigan (preferred) or college sports - no professional athletics

I'm currently reading "Billion-Dollar Ball" by Gilbert Gaul and it takes a deeper look into the monetization and "big-money culture" of college football. The author was an investigative journalist for the Washington Post and Phildelphia Inquirer and it reads in that style. It's pretty good and it's not too pricey on Kindle.

Some highlights: looking into Texas' Athletic Department as a money making machine; chapter three is also on Notre Dame paying Weis $23M not to coach; insight on the influx of cash with TV channels, rights, etc.; and a bunch of stuff about the rabid nature of Alabama fans and the "Sabanization" of the region.

There are some nice charts? CHARTS. showing Michigan's profit prowess, as well.



September 1st, 2015 at 11:55 AM ^

After "Under the Tarnished Dome" came out, neither ND nor Holtz were ever the same again. The 1993 team was good (11-1, #2), but they were no longer the unstoppable recruiting juggernaut they were before the book came out.  They would lose five games the next year and three the year after that.  

The part that probably did the most damage was Holtz refusing to acknowledge injured players when he saw them on the street or in the hallways.


September 1st, 2015 at 10:55 AM ^

I recommend "Raw Recruits" by Alex Wolff and Armen Keteyian. I believe it was published in 1990 so it's quite dated by now (I read it as a kid), but it provides a lot of historical context for the effects that apparel deals and recruiting scandals have had on college basketball in particular and college sports in general. Very informative, especially with respect to the Kentucky basketball scandal of the late '80s. It also has some very interesting stories about the recruitment of Sean Higgins, who of course ended up at Michigan but had previously signed with UCLA.

"Under the Tarnished Dome" is also a good one, as mentioned above, about Lou Holtz-era ND.


September 1st, 2015 at 3:20 PM ^

Meat on the Hoof: The Hidden World of Texas Football by Gary Shaw

It's a disturbing look at life as a college football player in the 60's under coach Darrell Royal. He was the Nick Saban of that era, basically getting rid of players who were not going to contribute. Royal wanted the scholarships back and did whatever it took to make the player quit or be ineligible. 

oriental andrew

September 1st, 2015 at 12:02 PM ^

Unintentionally funny because clearly the OP was referring to "style" books, about which Derek Zoolander must be quite familiar. 

EDIT: OP is a jerk for adding the hyphen between "reporting" and "style" in the post title. Now my comment is even less funny. 


September 1st, 2015 at 11:12 AM ^

Play Their Hearts Out. George Dohrmann follows a CA AAU team for almost a decade with one of the kids being the Next Lebron in 8th grade. All the kids are now in their early 20's. Exposes how corrupt AAU is from the parents, coaches, shoe companies and hangers-on. Makes you feel a little more sympathetic towards kids who get caught up in a scandal when they're in HS or college. You can't believe what some of these kids go through.

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September 1st, 2015 at 11:19 AM ^

That sounds fascinating but also kind of sad in that I think back to those times when I played sports and they were great and fond memories. I can only think that would be tarnished by that type of environment. 

It's almost as catch-22 in that in order to continue playing a game you love, it has to be morphed into something that is something less than its purest form.


September 1st, 2015 at 11:54 AM ^

Am I the only one who hears JUB's staccato vocal rhythm in his/her head as I read the passages of the book?

I don't have a "best" book not written by JUB, but I do know the WORST book imaginable: "War as They Knew It" by Michael "Countable Hour? What's That?" Rosenberg.


September 1st, 2015 at 3:34 PM ^

Intercollegiate Athletics and the American University: A University President's Perspective 

It's written by former Michigan president James Duderstadt. It gives good insight on trying to understand the finances of college athletics and how an athletic department exists inside a major university. 


September 1st, 2015 at 8:16 PM ^

Sometime soon after I get Endzone which looks good and interesting.

I think also a good book would be The System The Glory And Scandal Of Big-Time College Football. By Jeff Benedict And Armen Keteyian.