College Sports Crippling Undergraduate Education

Kiplinger Bookshelf

Beer and Circus: How Big-Time College Sports Is Crippling Undergraduate Education

  • Author: Murray Sperber
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, 352 pages

What should anyone really expect from going to college? What's it all about—celebrating college sports or investing in your financial future? Parents and their college-bound children will find plenty in this thorough exploration of the clashing dynamics between college athletics and a school's academic quality.

I’ve always been eager to debate the merits of athletic scholarships: Should college athletes instead be paid? Are these "student athletes" really getting an education while investing so much time and energy in sports? Do schools’ athletes really represent the broader student body? Sperber’s book questions the impact of college athletics programs on the student body at large. Sperber makes clear that big-time athletics programs can actually hinder schools financially – contrary to the popular notion that sports helps schools fund more noble academic pursuits. He shows how prospective students are often steered wrong from the first time they visit campus, learning about the stadium and gameday atmosphere, or about fraternities and sororities and the social scene, but not about the quality of professors or the library.

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Beer and Circus challenges you to think about what you really should expect from going to college. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance editor Janet Bodnar has echoed that sentiment: “Parents aren’t obliged to pay for four years of football weekends, frat parties and beer.”


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