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FTB 102 — Inside College Football: Competition, Commerce, and Controversy

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: On campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 28—Dec 7
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 11
Unit(s): 2 Units
Tuition: $435
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 23
On campus
7:00—8:50 pm
Sep 28—Dec 7
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 11
2 Units
Please Note: No class on November 23
Over the past twenty-five years, college football has become the fastest-growing sport in America. It’s now the second most-watched spectator sport in the United States—second only to the NFL, but well ahead of the NBA and Major League Baseball in ratings. Crowds, revenues, and TV ratings have skyrocketed as the sport has expanded from a regional enterprise into a national, multi-billion-dollar phenomenon. The game is now played almost every night of the week and televised on dozens of national, regional, and conference networks. As universities, conferences, and coaches continue to rake in big dollars—all driven by the performance of student athletes—tough questions are being raised concerning player compensation and safety, as well as the game’s place in higher education.

In this course, students will spend an informative and entertaining ten weeks in the company of college football insiders, celebrating and examining one of America’s favorite sports, its successes and excesses, and the compelling issues that confront it. Topics will include: the rewards, challenges, and pressures of coaching big-time college football; the passion, glory, camaraderie, and time demands experienced by the players; whether athletes should be compensated for the use of their name, image, and likeness; the economics of college football and TV’s impact on the game; how the NCAA and Power Five conferences have evolved; the playoffs, bowls, and how the postseason has changed; marrying an educational mission with the commercialism of big-time football; the facilities arms race; recruiting, scheduling, and the operational logistics of today’s game; how universities respond to domestic violence and other player-related abuses; and how player injuries, concussions, and safety concerns may threaten the future of the sport.

Guest speakers include:

(1) Matt Doyle (Senior Associate Athletic Director, Stanford)
(2)Tom Hansen (Former Commissioner (retired), Pac-10 Conference)
(3) Ivan Maisel (Senior Writer, ESPN)
(4) Stewart Mandel (College Football Writer, FOXSports.com)
(5) Bob Moore (Former Stanford and Oakland Raiders Tight End; Former Vice President, NFL Players Association)
(6) Darrin Nelson (Stanford All-America and National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Running Back)
(7) Roger Noll (Professor of Economics, Emeritus, Stanford)
(8) Mike Pereira (Football Rules Analyst, FOX Sports)
(9) Scott Reiss (Stanford Play-by-Play Broadcaster; KTVU Sports Anchor and Reporter; Former ESPN Anchor and SportsCenter Host)
(10) Wright Waters (Executive Director, Football Bowl Association; Former Commissioner, Sun Belt Conference)
(11) Tyrone Willingham (Former Head Coach at Stanford, Notre Dame, and Washington; member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee)
(12) Jon Wilner (College Football Writer, San Jose Mercury News)

This course may not be taken for a Letter Grade.

Gary Cavalli, Former Executive Director, Foster Farms Bowl; Columnist, Comcast SportsNet

Gary Cavalli has forty years of experience in professional and college sports administration. He was the co-founder and executive director of the post-season college football game played in the Bay Area, known as the Kraft Fight Hunger and, most recently, Foster Farms Bowl. In April, he received the inaugural Legacy Award from the Football Bowl Association for his contributions to college football. Cavalli was previously co-founder and CEO of the American Basketball League, a women’s professional league, and sports information director and associate athletic director at Stanford. He is the author of the book Stanford Sports and co-executive producer of the award-winning documentary film Disposable Heroes. He produced network programming for FOX Sports and managed NCAA golf and soccer championships. He currently writes the column “College Football Roundup” for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian, The System (ISBN 978-0345803030)