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
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon