Before March Madness
The Wars for the Soul of College Basketball
Sport and Society
Published by: University of Illinois Press
320 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 23.00 mm
- ISBN: 9780252085185
- Published: August 2020
Kurt Edward Kemper tells the dramatic story of the clashes that shook college basketball at mid-century—and how the repercussions continue to influence college sports to the present day. Taking readers inside the competing factions, he details why historically black colleges and regional schools came to embrace commercialization. As he shows, the NCAA's strategy of co-opting its opponents gave each group just enough just enough to play along—while the victory of the big-time athletics model handed the organization the power to seize control of college sports.
An innovative history of an overlooked era, Before March Madness looks at how promises, power, and money laid the groundwork for an American sports institution.
"The author has a deep familiarity with and understanding of the subject matter, and he comfortably and compellingly situates Before March Madness within the landscape of existing sport history literature. . . . Unique, impressive, and insightful." --Journal of Arizona History
"He does a masterful job of sorting out the various organizations that sponsored amateur basketball and providing details about their rivalries for dominance in the first six decades of the twentieth century." --History of Education Quarterly
"Kemper’s research is diligent and exhaustive, and for those who like the inner-workings of college sports and its history, it’s an invaluable guide to an overlooked chapter in the evolution of amateur athletics." --Sports Biblio Reader
”A well-researched and provocative inquiry into the contentious early development of college basketball. Kemper lucidly exposes the numerous conflicts over fundamental principles and specific policies that repeatedly erupted before the NCAA seized complete control of the sport in 1957.”—Charles Martin, author of Benching Jim Crow: The Rise and Fall of the Color Line in Southern College Sports, 1890–198
”An impressive and important work, Before March Madness powerfully illustrates the internecine conflicts between rival collegiate organizations and how the NCAA was forced to confront its racist, duplicitous, and often indifferent behaviors to ultimately emerge triumphant in the late 1950s.”—Milton Katz, Kansas City Art Institute