Kickoff the Season with These Reads

Tonight is the official start of the NFL season with a game between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers (8:30 p.m. ET on NBC). If you’re like me, you only knew this because of the new Google Doodle. Before the game starts, why not make it to your favorite recliner and crack open a beer a little earlier than usual? These titles are centered on football and will get your head in the game before it even starts.

syr8Leveling the Playing Field:The Story of the Syracuse Eight by David Marc

During the 1970s at Syracuse University, a group of African American football players (“the Syracuse Eight”) provoked racial tensions when they demanded a change in the school’s treatment of athletes. Syracuse Eight’s four demands were: distribution of assignments based on merits instead of race, equal academic support for both races; better medical treatment for all players; and to incorporate more racially diverse coaches into the staff. After the University ignored their demands, the players boycotted practice and were released from the team. Interviews with the Eight bring the events to life, as well as the frustration for the pursuit of racial equality.

syracuse8During the halftime of Syracuse’s game in 2006, Syracuse alumnus Art Monk, along with Chancellor Nancy Cantor, presented the players with the letterman jackets they did not receive when they were students.

Shaping College Football: The Transformation of an American Sport, 1919-1930 by Raymond Schmidt

shapingfootballRaymond Schmidt examines the major changes that Football underwent after World War I and the battle between university and business. In the 1920s, universities became dependent on the revenue that football brought in. It then became a power struggle between academics and athletics. The book not only introduces the schools that established their reputation for football but looks at stadium building and the cultural tensions that football brought to a head.

The New Cathedrals: Politics and Media in the History of Stadium Construction by Robert Trumpbour

This newcathedralsbook explores the construction of stadiums and how they not only affect the area physically, but reflect an area’s cultural values. Trumpbour begins his examination all the way back to ancient Greece and finishes with the monstrous facilities we attend today. Three historical periods when stadium construction truly evolved were The Progressive Era, when the modern stadiums were first built; the late 1960s, when stadiums were built in urban areas to advance development; and the 1990s when stadiums were built to serve as entertainment spaces. He also analyzes how political institutions, commercial entities, civic leadership, and media organizations influenced new stadium construction.

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