By Ken Reed

“I fear for college football,” says CBS News’ investigative reporter Armen Keteyian. “It’s a runaway train.”

Keteyian and fellow investigative reporter and Sports Illustrated writer Jeffrey Benedict are co-authors of a new book on college football due out in a week called “The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football.”

While there are definitely still administrators and coaches at the highest levels of college football and basketball that deeply care about their players physical, mental, emotional, spiritual — and even financial well-being — big-time college football and basketball is increasingly dominated by win-at-all-costs (WAAC) and profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) ethos. And the unfortunate victims of these ethos are the players, who are but tools in a billion dollar system that strips them of the economic and civil rights enjoyed by the rest of us.

Keteyian, when asked to reflect on his new book and offer a takeaway, had this to say: “If I had one absolute revelation, it was how the weight of these $100 million programs is on the backs of these kids and the pressure they are under every week to perform.”

Benedict added, “I don’t think I will be able to watch a game now without thinking about the scope and amount of physical carnage that’s required for college football to succeed at the level it does.”

It’s past time that the players were allowed to gain financially from their talents and physical sacrifices Even Time magazine now agrees. In a cover story in the September 16 issue of the magazine, writer Sean Gregory concludes, “With conferences and schools set to see record television payouts for the next decade and beyond, the idea of paying players is no longer just fodder for academic debate. It’s an ethical imperative.”

“The System” is receiving rave reviews from those who’ve read early-release copies. Keteyian and Benedict are two veteran reporters with excellent reputations. It promises to be a provocative behind-the-scenes look at a greed-driven monster that is feeding on young men who provide the mass entertainment sports product without the benefit of representation, unlike their NFL and NBA peers.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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