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The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA
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The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  176 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
"Corporations and universities enriching themselves on the backs of uncompensated young men, whose status as "student athletes".. deprives them of the right to due process guaranteed by the Constitution." Decades of greed and self-interest pushed the NCAA to collapse under the weight of its hypocrisy. The parasitic business of college sports generates billions every year, ...more
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Published September 22nd 2011 by Byliner Inc. (first published September 21st 2011)
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Sep 30, 2012 Rick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Quick read- it's a long article not a book. I dont know jack about college sports, or at least I didn't until I read this book. But I am so not surprised that the NCAA is evil. Great insight into the NCAA, it's history, how it got here, how college football escaped its grasp, and... man. This organization totally shafts the kids. Here's a fun quote: "At the start of the 2010 football season, A. J. Green, a wide receiver at Georgia, confessed that he’d sold his own jersey from the Independence Bo ...more
Seth Farber
Feb 15, 2012 Seth Farber rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, sports, labor
Branch straddles the line between analysis & polemic, but it's hard to criticize his obvious disdain for the NCAA. Still, I don't feel like there was enough additional substance to make the full e-book any more worthwhile than Branch's Atlantic cover story. It's a topic worthy of reflection for any sports fan, but given the choice, I'd go with the shorter version.
Jimmy Williams
Jul 02, 2014 Jimmy Williams rated it really liked it
Should college athletes be paid? That is a question I hear at least once a week these days as I spend my time trolling on the internets. I do believe there should be some sort of compensation but I’m not exactly sure if it should be, in the words of the prophet Randy Moss, “Straight Cash Homey”. I have read essays and listened to speeches that fall on both sides of the argument and I understand how complicated of a situation it is. Unlike most internet trolls I try to do as much research as poss ...more
Jan 14, 2013 Dan rated it liked it
College athletics is an odd phenomenon. Universities and coaches make millions. The players make nothing. It's always struck me as an odd and potentially unstable arrangement.

This e-book gives a lot of background on how this came to pass, on all the legal battles the NCAA has fought over the years, and media deals they've landed. It also serves as a primer on some of the current legal cases which could reshape college athletics. The NCAA does not come across well. They depend on the universities
Sep 21, 2012 Ashley rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, byliner
Though it was at times hard to follow, and though Branch clearly has an agenda, it is overall a good read if you want to know a little bit about the history of the NCAA. I was the sports editor at an NCAA Division I school newspaper during a time in which the role of athletics at the University was being questioned, it was amazing to see how passionately coaches and players upheld the NCAA's ideas of amateurism and the "student-athlete," and Branch tells the history of how these ideas came about ...more
Val Duncan
Dec 31, 2013 Val Duncan rated it really liked it
My husband encouraged me to read this book and I enjoyed it more than I had anticipated. The author sheds light on just how hard college athletes work, how they are prevented from profiting from their accomplishments on the field (or even getting a part-time job), and how the NCAA makes millions and millions from kids who can't even afford to buy pizza when they finish practice and the cafeteria is closed. Most of these athletes will not go pro, and many lose their scholarships and are left with ...more
May 25, 2014 Chris rated it liked it
This was a good book on how shrewdly the NCAA operates. I still believe as I did before reading the book that college athletes should never be payed for playing.
May 23, 2014 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An accomplished author detailing one of the most, if not the most, corrupt organizations of all time. Incredibly interesting.
Brendan Babish
Jan 28, 2012 Brendan Babish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Worthwhile read, but doesn't do much but skim the surface. The most interesting sections deal with the history of the NCAA and college sports, which helps me understand how this corrupt system was built in the first place. But what was most disappointing is that Branch does very little explaining where the money made from these sports goes or what the repercussions would be if the football and basketball programs suddenly stopped producing such largesse for their schools. Not that is does much t ...more
Jesse Lansner
Feb 21, 2014 Jesse Lansner rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
A good expose of the NCAA's hypocrisy, though the book could have been structured a bit better.
Feb 15, 2016 Troy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ncaa, non-fiction, sports
Good read. Solid background on the formation of AAU and the NCAA. Examines the debate on whether or not to pay college athletes in great detail. Certainly worth the time.
Nov 25, 2011 Eddie rated it it was amazing
The NCAA is dead and should be buried right away. The gross hypocrisy of its leaders is enormous. Calling the athletes from every college student-athletes, allows the NCAA to never have to pay for injuries suffered in competition or in practice. This is so even though these same athletes pull in billions of dollars for athletic programs. The book details many instances of outright bribery and dishonesty in student-coach relations. Highly recommended.
Oct 15, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
If you're a collegiate sports fan, there's nothing that you don't already know revealed through Branch's prose. However, to read it all compiled into one, quick-reading ultra-article is depressing and heart-wrenching. The time has long passed to do something about the state of collegiate athletics, and remove the price that corporations and colleges put on the heads of these young men and women.
Jarrad Bock
Feb 06, 2012 Jarrad Bock rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports, nfl
A good look into the way college sports are administrated and the history of how such a corrupt system has been allowed to germinate over 50+ years.
Nov 10, 2011 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, own
I was really enjoying this look in to the NCAA, but then it began to feel like I was reading a rant written by a high school debater.
Stuart Coleman
Oct 23, 2012 Stuart Coleman rated it it was amazing
A great takedown of a ridiculous organization. I eagerly await the day when the NCAA is gone.
Bobbi Ruddock
Jun 03, 2013 Bobbi Ruddock rated it really liked it
Learned a lot more than I thought I would. Quite interesting!
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Taylor Branch (born January 14, 1947, in Atlanta, Georgia) is an American author and historian best known for his award-winning trilogy of books chronicling the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and some of the history of the American civil rights movement. The third and final volume of the 2,912-page trilogy — collectively called America in the King Years — was released in January 2006. Branch live ...more
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