How The Myth Of The NCAA "Student-Athlete" Was Born

Excerpted from Taylor Branch's The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA, published by Byliner and newly relevant today as Northwestern football players seeking to unionize argue before the National Labor Relations Board that they are employees of the school. Byliner has unlocked The Cartel for the day… » 2/20/14 1:35pm 2/20/14 1:35pm

He Punches like a Fucking Mule Kick

Here is a good story from "Second Wind: Memoirs of an Opinonated Man," by Bill Russell with the historian Taylor Branch (1979, Random House; currently out-of-print). It’s about Russell’s grandfather and his mule, Kate. Russell’s family was from Monroe, La., and he lived down there until he was about ten (his family… » 5/30/13 8:43am 5/30/13 8:43am

Great Moments In NCAA Hypocrisy: How Penn State Defended Its Integrity,…

There is too much amazing material in Taylor Branch's Atlantic piece about the NCAA for us to handle it all at once, so we're just going to keep pulling shiny gems from the treasure trove whenever a new one catches our eye. So: The piece begins with a scene in 2001 where legendary shoe-company fixer Sonny Vaccaro… » 9/14/11 6:45pm 9/14/11 6:45pm

Your Study Guide To The Atlantic's Massive, Withering Story About The…

If you read one piece of sports journalism this week, it should be The Atlantic magazine's huge cover story by Taylor Branch, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning civil rights historian. Branch isn't doing much new by calling out the NCAA as a morally defective institution—a "classic cartel...[that] presides over a vast,… » 9/14/11 10:30am 9/14/11 10:30am