Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book 1: Play by Play

Play by Play: Radio, Television, and Big-Time College Sports by Ronald A. Smith was one of those rare textbooks that you want to read even after the class is done. In fact that was exactly what happened. I was assigned several chapters from this book as part of the required reading for my Sports and Media class. Since we only read several chapters, I decided to finish up the book while I was on break.

I loved sports my whole life. So it makes sense that I decided to pursue a life in sports.   But with sports it’s easy to forget the history of everything. It’s a big business now where back in the day, college sports were a form of clubs that grew up into something much larger. This book takes you to the roots of it all especially from the media stand point.

I loved reading about how it was the Ivy Leagues that really made competition what it is today. Now Yale, Penn, and Harvard aren’t exactly sport powerhouses. Instead it’s about academics first for them and a deemphasized view on sports.  It was fascinating to read. Plus it was neat to read how Fordham was the one competing in the first televised basketball game and the first televised football game. 

It was fascinating how schools didn’t want to promote certain products.   Cigarettes were okay to advertise and sponsor games but alcohol and drugs were completely off limits for most schools.

One of the things that didn’t surprise me was how the NCAA was trying to control everything. I remember growing up  where there was the game of the week but that was radically changing thanks to the Supreme Court Case (although when I’m less than 10 I had no idea it was an antitrust case, I just knew there was more options on TV).   But it was interesting to see the reason behind the NCAA.

This book was quite enjoyable.  It was both cursory but had excellent research. I’m glad Dr. Weaver had us read it for class and that I finished it up after the class was done.