In 2011 in The Atlantic, Taylor Branch published what sports commentator Frank Deford said "may be the most important article ever written about college sports." The real scandal, Branch says, is the very structure of college sports, in which athletes generate billions of dollars for big universities while earning nothing for themselves.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a leading historian of the civil rights movement, Branch will discuss The Shame of College Sports at Elmhurst College on October 10. His talk is part of the Rudolf G. Schade lecture series and is sponsored in part by BMO Harris Bank.
Taylor Branch is best known for his landmark narrative history of the civil rights era, America in the King Years. The first book in that trilogy, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, won the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards. Branch’s most recent book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (2013), identifies 18 essential moments from the civil rights movement and includes selections from his trilogy.
For the Atlantic piece, "The Shame of College Sports," Branch conducted 120 interviews and introduced historical information about the NCAA that led him to describe the NCAA as "a classic cartel" that preys on the futures of young college athletes. He later released an e-book, The Cartel, which includes more of his findings on NCAA practices and "exposes decades of greed and self-interest."
Branch’s talk will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 10, in the Frick Center, Founders Lounge. Admission is $20 for the general public and free for Elmhurst College students, faculty, staff and alumni. Tickets are available online or at the door. For more information, call (630) 617-3390.