Ongoing Debate

U.S. Senate Hearing July 9, 2014. Witnesses (l-r): Myron Rolle, Devon Ramsey, Taylor Branch, William Bradshaw, Richard Southall, NCAA president Mark Emmert

Many people have strong feelings about college sports. Some wish the big-money games would disappear to restore primacy for academics. Others express envy or resentment of college athletes. Many instinctively reject my thesis that the NCAA system robs college players of their right to seek compensation outside the classroom.

Below is a sample of my part-time involvement in an NCAA sports controversy that has developed over the past four years.  For me, the key issues flow directly from those encountered in my chosen career as a civil rights historian.

Jump to:  Exchanges and Commentary  |  Broadcast and Video Links  |  Congressional Testimony

Taylor Branch in high school

Believe it or not. That’s me, #85, about to tackle the opposing #30 for my high school Westminster Wildcats of Atlanta, Georgia in 1963, not long before the Kennedy assassination.

Exchanges and Commentary

A March Madness Update on the Shame of College Sports: Update in TIME, 2019

Toward Basic Rights for College Athletes: Update in The Atlantic, 2015

Student Exchange on College Sports, 2014

Food For Thought: Why Do Small Colleges Need the NCAA?, 2013

Are Big-Money College Sports a Bubble In Higher Education?, 2012

A Three-Point Reform Agenda for Sports in Higher Education, 2012

Reply to George Washington University Law Professor Neil Buchanan, 2012

Sports Illustrated’s Skewed “Pay-for-Play” Model, 2011

NCAA Reform and the Penn State Scandal, 2011

Seth Davis vs. Taylor Branch, Round 2 on CBS Sports Network, 2011

1963: Westminster Wildcats of Atlanta, Georgia, 2011

Broadcast and Video Links

NBC-TV panel discussion with Taylor Branch, Sarita Gupta, Jeffrey Kessler, and Dave Zirin on trade union efforts, basic reform, and the role of race in NCAA sports, 2014

Video Link on U.S. Senate Hearing on NCAA Sports, 2014

CSPAN-TV, Debate with LSU President John Lombardi at the American Enterprise Institute, CSPAN-TV 2012

Aspen Ideas Festival, Video Debate on College Sports, 2012

Congressional Testimony

Text of My Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, 2014

Video Link and Blog Report on U.S. Senate Hearing on NCAA Sports, 2014