AN EXPLOSIVE AND REVELATORY PORTRAIT REPORTED FROM DEEP BEHIND THE SCENES OF BIG-TIME NCAA COLLEGE FOOTBALL: THE
PASSION, THE THRILLING ACTION—AND THE SHOCKING REALITIES THAT LIE BENEATH THIS COLOSSAL, MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR BUSINESS
COLLEGE FOOTBALL has never been more popular—or more chaotic. Millions fill 100,000-seat stadiums every Saturday; tens
of millions more watch on television every weekend. The 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game between Notre Dame
and Alabama had a viewership of 26.4 million people, second only to the Super Bowl. Billions of dollars from television
deals now flow into the game; the average budget for a top-ten team is $80 million; top coaches make more than $3
million a year; the highest paid, more than $5 million.
But behind this glittering success are darker truths: “athlete-students” working essentially full-time jobs with no
share in the oceans of money; players who often don’t graduate and end their careers with broken bodies; “janitors” who
clean up player misconduct; football “hostesses” willing to do whatever it takes to land a top recruit; seven-figure
black box recruiting slush funds. And this: Despite the millions of dollars pouring into the game, 90 percent of major
athletic departments still lose money. Yet schools remain caught up in an ever-escalating “arms race”—at the expense of
academic scholarships, facilities and faculty.
Celebrated investigative journalists Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian were granted unprecedented access during the
2012 season to programs at the highest levels across the country at a time of convulsive change in college football.
Through dogged reporting, they explored every nook and cranny of this high-powered machine, and reveal how it operates
from the inside out. The result: the system through the eyes of athletic directors and coaches, high-flying boosters and
high-profile TV stars, five-star recruits and tireless NCAA investigators and the kids on whom the whole vast enterprise
Both a celebration of the power and pageantry of NCAA football and a groundbreaking, thought-provoking critique of
its excesses, The System is the definitive book on the college game.