3/20/2008 Linfield economist co-authors book on college sports
McMINNVILLE – A new text detailing the economics of college sports has been a natural undertaking for a Linfield College professor.
Randy Grant, professor of economics at Linfield, has written "The Economics of Intercollegiate Sports." The book is co-authored by John Leadley and Zenon Zygmont, both economics faculty members at Western Oregon University. It is published by World Scientific Publishing.
"I've been both a sports fan and an economist for a long time," said Grant, chair of Linfield's economics department since 2001. "It was a natural connection for me."
The book is designed primarily to teach undergraduate students about the college sports industry. It focuses on the cartel structure of the NCAA and its member institutions and sheds light on issues such as the labor market for college athletes and coaches; the tension between athletics and academics; commercialization of college sports; the role of the media in college sports; and race, gender and legal issues.
Since 2003, Grant has taught a Linfield class focusing on the economics surrounding professional sports. While he found that much has been written about college sports, little has been done to organize and expand that work into something designed for classroom use. This new text fills that void.
"We wanted to produce a book that could supplement a general sports economics class or be used for a stand alone course on college sports economics," he said.
The text will be used in classrooms, but was structured to appeal to a more general audience as well.
"We deal in the book with March Madness and the BCS (college football's Bowl Championship Series)," Grant said. "Those events are immensely popular, with billions of dollars at stake, and we're hoping that more than a few fans will be interested in learning more of what occurs behind the scenes."
Linfield students and alumni contributed to the book, including 2004 graduate Ben Pappas, 2005 graduate Mark Kessler, and seniors Casey Stepan and Heather Correia. Grant also used the manuscript in a class last year and his Linfield students provided crucial feedback on the material.
A lifelong sports fan, Grant was intrigued by what he learned as he wrote the text, specifically as he researched Title IX.
"There really is no smoking gun for Title IX," he said. "Contrary to popular belief, Title IX is not responsible for hurting men's sports at the intercollegiate level. Many of the cuts in men's sports that have been attributed to Title IX were actually the result of unrelated economic forces and occurred during periods when the law's requirements and enforcement were at their weakest. If anything, Title IX has been used as a scapegoat for athletic directors making unpopular cuts in men's sports for other reasons."
Grant has also co-authored, with Stanley Brue, "The Evolution of Economic Thought." He holds a bachelor's degree from Pacific Lutheran University and a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2001, he earned Linfield's Edith Green Distinguished Professor Award. In 1994, he received the Linfield College Greek Letter Organizations Professor of the Year award.