Unsolicited Endorsements XXXIII

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness.

Book: Brian Porto’s The Supreme Court and The NCAA

Let’s get this out of the way first: The Supreme Court and The NCAA is a “law” book. It is not a leisurely, let me sip a Miami Vice on this barcalounger while listening to New Edition, summer-time read. But summer is over. At least up here in Pennsylvania. It was sixty degrees this morning.

And as the temperatures get cooler, serious non-fiction becomes more appealing. I began reading this book as background for work but wanted to finish it because the author Brian Porto presents detailed portrayals of two landmark decisions that changed big-time college athletics, as well as what I consider the best argument for fixing the industry it has become.

Fundamental to his idea are two 1980s Supreme Court cases: NCAA v. Board of Regents and   NCAA v. Tarkanian. In 1984, Oklahoma and Georgia successfully defeated the NCAA in a court case that banished the NCAA’s power to regulate TV. Universities could now do it on their own, and the decision led to the commercialization of college sports that is rife with problems today. In 1988, the NCAA won against Tarkanian, giving it the power to investigate and punish members without regard to due process.

It’s very popular to criticize the NCAA right now and argue for its dismantling. It’s also popular to hold onto the unicorn of early twentieth century B.S. Yale, Haahhhvard amateurism. Porto takes a contrarian route that fits in the middle. Rather than ditch amateurism, he provides constructive opportunities for helping save it. Through congressional action, he proposes giving antitrust exemptions back to the NCAA with regards to decisions that furthered an educational mission. Porto would like the NCAA to have a hand in the regulation of TV deals. That would mean no more Tuesday and Thursday night games for instance and would hopefully tone down some of the revenue machine that has allowed people like Nick Saban to make $6 mill. As part of the compromise, the NCAA would have to allow its members due process.

With NCAA president Mark Emmert acting as un-due-processy as ever and TV contracts literally worth more than California cities, The Supreme Court and The NCAA is as timely as ever. — Mark Dent


Short Film: “What I Have To Offer” by Eliot Rausch

Eliot Rausch’s brief set of vignettes — and the accompanying section of a Charlie Kaufman lecture — say more than I could. Take five minutes to enjoy: http://vimeo.com/45097801 — Asher Fusco


Podcast: Jack White interview on “Sound Opinions”

I’ve been without television or internet (at least at home) for the month of August. For the most part, it’s the only way to fly. But I did have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for an endorsement this week. Still, I’m gonna go with a podcast that really is worth listening to — this Jack White interview from an episode of WBEZ’s “Sound Opinions” earlier this month.

In all honestly, I’ve never been a huge Jack White fan. I appreciated the White Stripes, enjoyed a couple songs, but that was about it. The interview is a good listen, though, if for no other reason than it introduced me to this song: “Grinnin’ in Your Face” by blues pioneer Son House.

— Rustin Dodd

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