In the United States, the entanglement of sports and education has persisted for over a century. Multimillion-dollar high school football stadiums, college coaches whose salaries are many times those of their institutions’ presidents, psychological and educational tolls on student-athletes, and high-profile academic scandals are just symptoms of a system that has come under increasing fire. Institutions large and small face persistent quandaries: which do they value more, academic integrity or athletic success? Which takes precedence: prioritizing elite teams and athletes, or making it possible for all students to participate in sports? How do we create opportunities for academic—not just athletic—development for players?
In Alternative Models of Sports Development in America, B. David Ridpath—a leading sports development researcher who has studied both the US system and the European club model—offers clear steps toward creating a new status quo. He lays out four possible alternative models that draw various elements from academic, athletic, and European approaches. His proposals will help increase access of all young people to the benefits of sports and exercise, allow athletes to also thrive as students, and improve competitiveness. The result is a book that will resonate with sports development professionals, academic administrators, and parents.