Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Beer and Circus

Beer and Circus

How Big-Time College Sports Has Crippled Undergraduate Education

Murray Sperber

Holt Paperbacks



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In this fascinating book, Sperber uses original research culled from students, faculty, and administrators around the country, to argue that what universities offer instead of a meaningful undergraduate education is a meager and dangerous substitute: the party scene surrounding college sports that Sperber calls "beer and circus" and which serves to keep the students happy while tuition dollars keep rolling in. He explodes cherished myths about college sports, showing, for instance, that contrary to popular belief the money coming in to universities from sports programs never makes it to academic departments.

Sperber's profound re-evaluation of college sports and higher education comes straight out of today's headlines and opens our eyes to a generation of students deprived of the education they deserve.

Murray Sperber has been acknowledged for years as the country's leading authority on college sports and their role in American culture. In the wake of Indiana University's decision to fire head basketball coach Bobby Knight last year, Sperber was in constant demand across the country--on television, radio, and print media--to comment on the profound and tragic impact of big-time intercollegiate athletics on higher education.

Society of Midland Authors Book Awards - Winner


Beer and Circus

The 1960s marked a low point for the collegiate subculture on
American campuses; numerous fraternities and sororities...


Praise for Beer and Circus

“It is hard to read Sperber's book without having a sinking feeling about the future of American culture. He has managed to document our national decline in painstaking detail, and the result is an admirable, timely and profoundly disturbing work.” —The New York Times Book Review

“The case [Sperber] marshalls against these places--'schools' scarcely seems the right word--is overwhelming, a devastating condemnation of 'higher education' in America.” —Washington Post Book World

“'Beer and Circus' does a terrific job of illustrating how collegiate sports has shielded the decline in education from public scrutiny. . . .[I]t is a powerful and important book.” —The Chicago Tribune

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Murray Sperber

Murray Sperber is a regular media commentator on college sports. A professor of English and American studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, his previous books include College Sports, Inc.; Onward to Victory: The Crises That Shaped College Sports; and Shake Down the Thunder: The Creation of Notre Dame Football.

Murray Sperber

Murray Sperber

From the Publisher

Holt Paperbacks

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