Charles Clotfelter Takes Questions on the Value of College Sports

In a live, online “Office Hours” conversation Thursday at noon, the author of “Big-Time Sports in American Universities” will explain what he learned in writing his book.

Originally posted on

Editor’s Note: Watch the webcast live Thursday at noon on the Duke Ustream channel.

Charles Clotfelter

DURHAM, NC – College football is in the news this year not only for on-field highlights, but also because of shifting conference alignments, NCAA investigations, and even criminal charges.

Duke Professor Charles Clotfelter, author of “Big-Time Sports in American Universities,” says questions surrounding the mix of money, morality, and education in intercollegiate athletics are nothing new, but that is no excuse for avoiding reform.

“Cheating won’t be solved just by tighter rules and better enforcement. A century of big-time college sports tells us that much,” Clotfelter wrote in an opinion piece. “Real change won’t happen until university trustees, not just presidents, show they value the academic mission more than winning games.”

During a live, interactive “Office Hours” webcast at noon Thursday, Nov. 10, Clotfelter will answer viewer questions about the business and ethics of college sports. Watch the webcast on the Duke Ustream channel. To submit a question, send an email to [email protected], tweet with the tag #dukelive, or post to the Duke University Facebook page.

Learn more about the book

In reviewing “Big-Time Sports in American Universities,” The Seattle Times wrote, “In a book dense with statistics — and sports fans love statistics, right? — Clotfelter compiles a sort of ledger sheet, with the good (athletic success begets a bump in applications for admission) alongside the bad (most big-time college sports programs lose big-time money).”

Clotfelter is the Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of Public Policy at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and also a professor of economics and law. He enjoys playing squash and golf — and watching college sports.

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