Rethinking College Athletics

Judith Andre, and David N James
Book Cover

PB: $31.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-002-6
Publication: Jul 92

HC: $56.50
EAN: 978-0-87722-716-8
Publication: Jan 91

257 pages
6 x 9

Why do colleges have intercollegiate athletics? Why should colleges keep them?


College sport is a major part of our cultural landscape, but it is perennially troubled with rule violations, academic failure, and exploitation. As recent moral philosophy has turned to practical issues, it has somehow overlooked the problems in its own back yard. This collection of essays enables us to step back from the sports page for both a broader view and a deeper look at college athletics. The editors, who are themselves moral philosophers, have brought together many perspectives—phenomenology, game theory, aesthetics, cognitive science, as well as history, anthropology, economics, and sports medicine. The essays illuminate the values of sport and their corrosion within the university's commercial environment.

Does sport belong in college at all? If so, how can institutions preserve the real values of athletics while honoring those of the university? The book's contributors—philosophers, social scientists, and physical educators—examine the current status of sport in Western society: the reason for its importance, the kind of pleasure derived by both participants and spectators, problems faced by athletes, and the effects on the larger society of troubles within the world of sport.

Comparing university sport programs in the United States with those in other countries and examining problems that start with recruiting high school athletes, the authors ask whether present practices are justified. Determining the values that are intrinsic to sport, they explore how these values fit with the essential goals of universities. And they look at the peculiar features of revenue-producing sports and ask whether these change the nature of sport.


"This timely and original collection addresses crucial issues in the areas of higher education, political culture, the sociology of leisure, and race relations." Andre Markovits, Professor, Department of Political Science, Boston University

"From the practical to the fanciful, this book offers a broad range of views about what can be done about the problems in college sports...for readers interested in a topic about which there has been precious little thoughtful analysis, Rethinking College Athletics is a valuable addition to the debate." The Christian Science Monitor

"The book...offers essays on the history, philosophy, aesthetics, and economics of college athletics.... (The) authors explore the benefits that sports bring to the athletes who play them, the spectators who watch them, and the institutions that sponsor them." The Chronicle of Higher Education

"The essays...are persuasive. The editors question if sports belong in college. They take an in-depth look at revenue-producing sports as inevitably destroying the good of the sport itself.... Through the presentation of different perspectives, Rethinking College Athletics will help one to imagine alternatives not yet attempted in college sport." Athletics Administration

Table of Contents


Part I: Foundations: History and Philosophy of Sports
1. The Anomaly of Intercollegiate Athletics – Allen Guttmann
2. The Greeks and the Meaning of Athletics – Lawrence J. Hatab
3. Intercollegiate Athletics: Do They Belong on Campus? – Robert L. Simon

Part II: Why Play? Goods for the Player
4. "When Power Becomes Gracious": The Affinity of Sport and Art – Drew Hyland
5. Feminism and the Sport Experience: Seeking Common Ground – Gail Whitaker
6. Nonsense on Stilts: A Skeptical View – Richard F. Galvin

Part III: Why Watch? Goods for the Spectator
7. Liveliness and Personality: The Content of the Aesthetic Object in Sport – Satoshi Higuchi
8. Waiting for DiMaggio: Sport as Drama – Joseph H. Kupfer
9. Sports and Art: Beginning Questions – Ted Cohen
10. Cognitive Errors in Sports Analysis – Richard Double

Part IV: Reform: The Example of Drugs
11. Banning Drugs in Sports: A Skeptical View – Norman Fost
12. Drug Testing and the Nature of Athletics – Roger Paden
13. On Banning Performance-Enhancing Drugs – Roger Paden
14. Cooperation Against Doping? – Gunnar Breivik

Part V: Beyond Reform: Some Radical Suggestions
15. The Economics of Intercollegiate Sports – Roger G. Noll
16. Why Everyone Deserves a Sporting Chance – Education, Justice, and College Sport – Janice Moulton

Part VI: Without Reform: A Different Hope
17. Memory, Attention, and the Communities of Sport – John J. MacAloon

Concluding Remarks: Where Do We Go from Here?
Guide to Further Reading
Notes on Contributors

About the Author(s)

Judith Andre is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Old Dominion University.

David N. James is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Old Dominion University.