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Tuesday, November 5,2013

Unsportsmanlike conduct

Sports writer laments commercialization of college football

by Bill Castanier
Courtesy photo

Tuesday, Nov. 5 — Sports writer-turned-author John U. Bacon threw a literary touchdown in 2011 with the New York Times bestseller “Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines,” which dissected the broken University of Michigan football program. He’s back covering the game in his new book, “Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football.” On Wednesday, Nov. 6, Bacon will appear at the Schuler Books in Eastwood Towne Center to talk about his book, in which he searches for the ideals of the original game and contrasts them with the contemporary business of college football.

He finds greed, hypocrisy and the win at-all-costs mentality have become the mantra of university football programs. By looking intimately at four Big 10 programs — U of M, Northwestern, Penn State and Ohio State — Bacon uses his experience and observations to propose some changes to an institution that has serious problems.

Along the way he looks at exorbitant ticket prices, coddled alumni and decisions made purely for monetary reasons. He writes candidly about recruiting practices that are out of hand. The only ones that seem to be heroes in his book are the players themselves who show up every Saturday to play the game.

Bacon, who also teaches writing at U of M, clearly loves the game of college football, if not the backroom machinations that have turned it into a Fortune 500-like business to the detriment of fans, players and the colleges.

John U. Bacon
Author talk and book signing, “Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football”
7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6
Schuler Books & Music — Eastwood
2820 Towne Center Blvd., Lansing Twp.
(517) 316-7495
schulerbooks.com



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