The Fifty-Year Seduction

How Television Manipulated College Football, from the Birth of the Modern NCAA to the Creation of the BCS

Keith Dunnavant

Thomas Dunne Books

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For more than a half century, television has played a primary role in securing college football's place as one of America's most popular spectator sports. But it has also been the common denominator in the sport's rise as a big business. Television, which multiplied the number of people who cared about the game, simultaneously increased the stakes.

The colleges, who once feared television's ability to create free tickets, gradually became addicted to its charms. Through the years, the medium manufactured money, greed, dependence, and envy; altered the recruiting process, eventually forcing the colleges to compete with the irresistible force of National Football League riches; aided the National Collegiate Athletic Association's explosion from impotent union to massive bureaucracy; manipulated the rise and fall of the College Football Association; fomented the realignment of conferences; and seized control of the post-season bowl games, including the formation of the lucrative and controversial Bowl Championship Series.

In The Fifty-Year Seduction, Keith Dunnavant shows how television helped shape the modern sport---on and off the field. In painstaking detail, the author chronicles five decades of tension and conflict, from the 1951 television dispute that empowered the modern NCAA to the inevitable backlash, culminating with the landmark Supreme Court decision that set the stage for the conference-swapping machinations of the 1990s and beyond.

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The Fifty-Year Seduction
1THE BIG BLUFFInside a crowded, smoke-filled Dallas hotel ballroom on a dreary day in January 1951, retired Admiral Thomas J. Hamilton grabbed a mike and rallied his troops. "We are dealing with a terrific force like a powerful wind of gale velocity," he thundered. "We are already feeling the first breezes of this hurricane." After speaking for several minutes about the danger looming on the horizon, the decorated Naval aviator urged his colleagues to "act now" or risk "serious harm" from being "caught in the path" of the "great threat" to their way of life.

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Reviews

Praise for The Fifty-Year Seduction

"As there have been Kremlinologists, so Keith Dunnavant must be the first certified NCAA-ologist. The work is thoroughly researched, carefully told, and absolutely brimming with fools and villains."
- Frank Deford

"If you think college football has sold its soul, Keith Dunnavant has news for you. He knows when the sale was made and for how much. Clearly and painstakingly, Dunnavant tracks the crime across decades. Anyone who cares about college athletics should memorize every word of this cautionary tale."
- David Kindred, columnist for The Sporting News

"Required reading for anyone who wants to know the real story involving television and college football. A book that's long overdue."
- Gene Wojciechowski, columnist for ESPN Magazine

"For anyone who follows college football, Dunnavant's book is substantive yet entertaining enlightenment."
- Ed Hinton, author of Daytona

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About the Author

Keith Dunnavant

Keith Dunnavant, who lives in New York and Atlanta, spent many years covering college football for major publications, including The National Sports Daily and Sport magazine. Dunnavant, an award-winning magazine writer and editor, is the founder of three magazines and the author of Coach, the acclaimed 1996 biography of Paul "Bear" Bryant.

Keith Dunnavant

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Fifty-Year Seduction
How Television Manipulated College Football, from the Birth of the Modern NCAA to the Creation of the BCS
Keith Dunnavant

Hardcover

Hardcover
St. Martin's Press
Thomas Dunne Books
October 2004
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780312323455
ISBN10: 031232345X
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 304 pages
$23.95

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
Thomas Dunne Books
October 2004
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466821347
ISBN10: 1466821345
304 pages
$7.99
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Thomas Dunne Books

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