Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Blog #1: Potential Research Topic

The topic that I am most interested in is college athletics and how privatization of universities has affected the overall landscape of college sports. College athletics has evolved immensely over time, and I will be aiming to pinpoint how privatization has concerned the modern "student-athlete", their respective athletic programs (facilities, recruiting, coaching staff, etc.) and the rest of their respective school (students, faculty, alumni, donors, etc.). With the popularity of college sports growing exponentially, what is the outlook for the future of college athletics with institutional privatization at its peak?


  1. That's a good topic and several students have worked on that successfully. I will write more later. But one question that has arisen and many recent writers take on is whether college athletes should be paid. Others have written on college athletics and branding.

  2. On whether or not athletes should be paid (an issue raised especially by the huge money in college sports these days and the increasing focus on the money at every level, including coaching salaries), the book Indentured by Joe Nocera is useful. Though not an academic source, it does a great job covering all of the important stories related to the topic in detail and with good interviews. The classic essay on the topic is "The Shame of College Sports" by Taylor Branch.

    Another interesting angle is the way sports are an important part of creating college "brands," especially with greater privatization and the way it emphasizes marketing and money -- and how defending the brand can often lead to cover-ups. The classic study on this deals with Penn State's 'Success with Honor'. But more is being written about sports as part of college branding.

    There are lots of possible angles. The main thing is to come up with an approach to the topic.

  3. If you are interested in the question of whether or not athletes should be paid, the documentary Schooled: The Price of College Sports is very much worth seeing and available on Netflix or Amazon.