My love affair with sports began at the age of seven as I watched my beloved Dodgers, the Brooklyn variety, go down in seven to the hated Yankees in the 1952 World Series. At some point during the 1957 season it became clear that the Dodgers were abandoning Brooklyn with the help of Walter O’Malley and Robert Moses, and I had to begin to come to terms with the fact that the game that I loved was a business. The business side of sports has become more problematic to me over the years, with big time Division I college sports being emblematic of a number of my concerns.
I talked with the folks at Nippertown at the Albany Jazz Fest on 9/10 about writing a piece that focused on the need for universities to treat athletes as employees with the rights and privileges that employees enjoy, including fair compensation, not simply a scholarship. Four days later, Taylor Branch’s article “The Shame of College Sports” became available online at The Atlantic (it will also be available in hard copy in the magazine’s October issue) and created quite the buzz.