Cover for smith: Pay for Play: A History of Big-Time College Athletic Reform. Click for larger imageRonald A. Smith, author of the new book Pay for Play: A History of Big-Time College Athletic Reform, was interviewed for the January 3, 2011, edition of Inside Higher Ed.

Q: Why is separating college sports from commercial interests important? How does it relate to academic integrity?

A: The lowering of academic standards to allow non-educationally motivated athletes to participate in commercially valuable sports is not conducive to maintaining academic integrity. The commercialization and corporatization of colleges and universities to make money for their institutions from teaching, research, and athletics is not new, but it is increasing — some say at an alarming rate. The fact that it started with a basically non-educational activity, athletics, is not surprising. That it is intensifying in medical schools, science research, and for-profit distance education on the Internet is even more troublesome than what is occurring in athletics.

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