Digging into the massively successful football program at Florida State University and finding the whole project nearly irredeemable.
“College football is deadly serious business, nowhere more so than Florida State,” writes award-winning New York Times investigative reporter McIntire (Journalism/New York Univ.) in this examination of the Seminoles dominant yet often academically and legally troubled football team. “How else do allegations of rape, attempted murder, academic fraud, domestic abuse, and other scandals…go unnoticed, uninvestigated, and unpunished?” As the author clearly shows, coaches, administrators, staff, boosters, and even local police have often looked the other way when it comes to rationalization or excuses for reprehensible player behavior—not to mention the demonization of anyone who might reveal the abuses or get in the way of the coverups set in motion to protect star athletes. According to the author, these myriad, multiplying sins seem to be the hallmarks of FSU athletics, especially the football program. In his deep dive into this cesspool, FSU comes to represent the situation throughout much of big-time college football, which brings in hundreds of millions of dollars at top schools such as FSU, Alabama, Ohio State, and elsewhere. Indeed, readers will get the impression that FSU is not even an outlier, which might be the scariest element of all. McIntire shows that FSU is not the only school pursuing the “champions way,” as his diversions to similar case studies in other athletic programs make clear. Naturally, the author ran into resistance nearly everywhere he turned, so he was unable to get the complete story of any of the many cases he investigated. While this may provide grist for detractors to try to pick apart his reportage, any honest reader will come away appalled—and rightfully so.
A depressing but eye-opening and important book about the deteriorating heart of college athletics.