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Play-by-play : radio, television, and big-time college sport
Smith, Ronald A. (Ronald Austin), 1936-
Publication Information:
Baltimore, Md. : Johns Hopkins University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
viii, 304 pages ; 24 cm
The media and early college sport -- Marconi, the wireless, and early sports broadcasting -- The broadcasters -- Graham McNamee and Ted Husing dominate the airwaves -- The radio threat to college football attendance -- In the image of Rockne : Notre Dame and radio policy -- Radio goes "bowling" : the Rose Bowl leads the way -- Sport and the new medium of television -- Networks, coaxial cable, commercialism, and concern -- Notre Dame chooses commercial TV -- Penn challenges the NCAA and the Ivy League -- The NCAA experimental year -- Networks : the Du Mont challenge -- Regional conferences challenge a national policy -- TV and the threat of professional football -- Roone Arledge and the influence of ABC-TV -- Advertising, image versus money, and the beer hall incident -- The television announcer's role in football promotion -- The cable television dilemma : more may be less -- TV money, Robin Hood, and the birth of the CFA -- TV property rights and a CFA challenge to the NCAA -- Oklahoma and Georgia carry the TV ball for the CFA team -- TV, home rule anarchy, and conference realignments -- Basketball : from Madison Square Garden to a televised final four -- TV's unfinished business : the Division I-A football championship.
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GV742 .S64 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The phenomenal popularity of college athletics owes as much to media coverage of games as it does to drum-beating alumni and frantic undergraduates. Play-by-play broadcasts of big college games began in the 1920s via radio, a medium that left much to the listener's imagination and stoked interest in college football. After World War II, the rise of television brought with it network-NCAA deals that reeked of money and fostered bitter jealousies between have and have-not institutions. In Play-by-Play: Radio, Television, and Big-Time College Sport noted author and sports insider Ronald A. Smith examines the troubled relationship between higher education and the broadcasting industry, the effects of TV revenue on college athletics (notably football), and the odds of achieving meaningful reform.

Beginning with the early days of radio, Smith describes the first bowl game broadcasts, the media image of Notre Dame and coach Knute Rockne, and the threat broadcasting seemed to pose to college football attendance. He explores the beginnings of television, the growth of networks, the NCAA decision to control football telecasts, the place of advertising, the role of TV announcers, and the threat of NCAA "Robin Hoods" and the College Football Association to NCAA television control. Taking readers behind the scenes, he explains the culture of the college athletic department and reveals the many ways in which broadcasting dollars make friends in the right places. Play-by-Play is an eye-opening look at the political infighting invariably produced by the deadly combination of university administrators, athletic czars, and huge revenue.

Author Notes

Ronald A. Smith is a professor emeritus at Penn State University and has held the position of Secretary-Treasurer of the North American Society for Sport History since 1972.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

This is a very well-researched and thorough academic treatment of the ever-evolving symbiotic relationship between college athletics and the broadcast media. Smith's (Sports and Freedom: The Rise of Big-Time College Athletics) narrative is not arranged chronologically; instead, chapters jump back and forth in time to fit a wide variety of topics reflecting the commercial predisposition of this association. Although heavy with endnotes, the text is fairly lively for a work of this nature. Another welcome feature is a detailed, exhaustive time line of the intersecting strands of college sports and electronic media over the years. An additional bonus that closes the book is its helpful bibliographic essay, which functions as a literature review covering archives, general works, legal issues, and periodical literature and should be a boon for further research. Recommended for all academic libraries. John Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ. Lib., Camden, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A charter member of the North American Society for Sport History, Smith has obviously done much primary-resource research on the many factors influencing the relationship between various media and major sports-program universities. He reveals the hypocrisy of these universities in the stark contrast between their avowed educational purposes and their endless thirst for media dollars, their continued inability if not unwillingness to resolve the conflict between myth and reality. Even the US courts seem ambivalent in their views of the relationship between big-time sports and antitrust provisions. Smith alleges that big-time football at these institutions supports the remainder of the sports programs, but he offers no hard evidence of this. He chronicles in detail the major players in this ongoing saga, from Edmund Joyce, Asa Bushnell, Walter Byers, and Theodore Hesburgh to Roone Arledge. Though it suffers in places from distracting grammatical errors, this book will be of inestimable value as a resource for students of sports sociology and, to a lesser degree, sports history. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. W. F. Gustafson emeritus, San Jose State University

Table of Contents

1 The Media and Early College Sport
2 Marconi, the Wireless, and Early Sports Broadcasting
3 The Broadcasters
4 Graham McNamee and Ted Husing Dominate the Airwaves
5 The Radio Threat to College
6 In the Image of Rockne: Notre Dame and Radio Policy
7 Radio Goes "Bowling": The Rose Bowl Leads the Way
8 Sport and the New Medium of Television
9 Networks, Coaxial Cable, Commercialism, and Concern
10 Notre Dame Chooses Commercial TV
11 Penn Challenges the NCAA and the Ivy League
12 The NCAA Experimental Year and Reactions
13 Networks: The Du Mont Challenge
14 Regional Conferences Challenge a National Policy
15 TV and the Threat of Professional Football
16 Roone Arledge and the Influence of ABC-TV
17 Advertising, Image versus Money, and the Beer Hall Incident
18 The Television Announcer's Role in Football Promotion
19 The Cable Television Dilemma: More May Be Less
20 TV Money, Robin Hood, and the Birth of the NCAA
21 TV Property Rights and a CFA Challenge to the NCAA
22 Oklahoma and Georgia Carry the TV Ball for the CFA Team
23 TV, Home Rule Anarchy, and Conference Realignments
24 Basketball: From Madison Square Garden to a Televised Final Four
25 TV's Unfinished Business: The Division I-A Football Championship
Appendix: Radio, TV, and Big-Time College
Sport: A Timeline
Bibliographical Essay