Turf War: A History of College Sports
From Taylor Branch’s controversial article about college sports for The Atlantic to the tragic scandal uncovered at Penn State, the relationship between higher education and college athletics has provided some of the most heated controversies of the year. But why do sports even exist at colleges and universities?
As the nation readies itself for another round of football championships, college bowls – and of course March Madness and Final Fours – BackStory seeks historical perspective. The American History Guys unpack the origins of college sports, and the ways universities have justified athletics on campus. Peter, Ed, and Brian take us to Amherst College in the 19th century, where the first collegiate Phys. Ed. program blossomed. They also recount a little-known story about the integration of the University of Alabama’s football team.
- Ramona Martinez, reporter and University of Chicago alumna
- Helen Horowitz, Professor of History at Smith College
- John Thelin, Professor of Education at the University of Kentucky
- Andrew Pernell, former University of Alabama football player and one of the first African-American team members
- F. David Mathews, former president of the University of Alabama
Listen to individual show segments.
Resources galore! Peruse a list of outside links compiled by the BackStory team — books, articles, and a video of the 1903 Princeton-Yale football game.
Listen to how, after 40 years, one researcher discovered Andrew Pernell’s story.
Check out the discussion that shaped this episode.
Listen to the music used in this episode.