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The System Audiobook

The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football

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Publisher's Summary

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 depends.

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.

©2013 Jeff Benedict, Armen Keteyian (P)2013 Random House

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (236 )
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Performance
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  •  
    W Perry Hall 01-23-14

    One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    Performance
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    "Gripping Inside Look at an Industry to Itself"

    If you have any interest in college football, you should read "The System," a spectacular and sobering look at College Football, as a Sport and a Huge Multi-Billion$ Business, that:

    Explores each of more than a dozen hot and/or intriguing topics in college football;

    By way of an illustrative story to humanize it, much like the Michael Lewis method;

    Written by respected and gritty reporters who were granted a year of behind-scenes access and ability to interview coaches, ADs, athletes, academic administration, boosters, students, prosecutors, NCAA; and, who

    Crafted an astounding collage of The System to give the reader both good and bad, so you can form your own opinions, conclusions and, if nothing else, see the sport in a different light.

    I highly recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Texas 09-17-14
    Kindle Customer Texas 09-17-14

    I am a former police officer turned history professor. I enjoy a good story, be it fiction or non.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent!"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The authors went out of their way to put together a true look at college football; from tutors working with athletes, janitors, athletic directors, coaches, boosters, and the players themselves. I've been a lifelong football fan and so I am familiar with some of the scandals that are mentioned but they fill in the gaps left in the media coverage. The narrator does a wonderful job and the book never feels tedious. I find myself sometimes staying in my car longer so that I can finish a chapter before I go inside work or home. Not many audio books can get me to do that.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mastiff Enthusiast Colorado Springs, CO United States 07-03-16
    Mastiff Enthusiast Colorado Springs, CO United States 07-03-16 Member Since 2014

    mastiff enthusiast

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    "lots of stories about football"

    while this book has a lot of good stories about football, it doesn't seem to have a cohesive thesis. It's mostly a book of lots of strung together stories that let you draw your own conclusions about guilt and innocence. If you like football it's a fun read, but if you're looking for more of a analysis or expose this is not it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john lundberg 05-10-16 Member Since 2014
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    "some programs disturbing, others commendable"
    What made the experience of listening to The System the most enjoyable?

    I was impressed with the level of research done to back up the conclusions drawn and found some programs such as BYU and their support structures impressive, and others downright deplorable, Tennessee etc. Coaches seem to be either tyrannical dictators, Mike Leach, no thanks... not for me or my boys, while others seem to be truly invested in the athletes and or institution, Saban at Alabama, Bronco now at U of VA.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Research


    Have you listened to any of Mark Deakins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The story of Kyle Van Noy at BYU was fascinating and downright inspirational while the system at Tennessee was very disturbing. The sketch drawn of Mike Leach's character is one that leaves a lot to be desired. Big money has really corrupted both individuals and some institutions.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Payton 03-22-16
    Mark Payton 03-22-16
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    "highly recommended "

    For those with a passionate interest in the NCAA and/or NFL Or NBA this is fabulous reporting. it also a legitimate research document; an incredible source for facts and details about contemporary athletes.

    THE SYSTEM relates human dramas, sociology, race relations, big business, higher education and sport. likely to interest any reader cause the dramas are so compelling regardless of the names. However, in most cases, these stories are about real people (atheletes) who are fresh in my memory and experience.

    This book is very long. But is always interesting. Each chapter is a different subject and each chapter is compelling to the very end...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim W Cedar Rapids, IA United States 09-29-15
    Tim W Cedar Rapids, IA United States 09-29-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Good for BYU and Alabama fans"

    Most of the stories in this book were concentrated around just a few programs. Not the best book in that I figured there would be more behind it than a few programs and some rather disturbing tales of abuse of girls.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tucker 04-17-15
    tucker 04-17-15
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    "great stories"

    A little hard to follow sometimes because he jumps around between stories. All very interesting stories and full of details. However the time shown for the length of the read is very misleading. half of the chapters are explaining where they got their facts from and not actual story plot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Flynn Cambridge, MA United States 12-22-14
    Daniel Flynn Cambridge, MA United States 12-22-14

    I am a life long learner who likes to think differently.

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    "Thorough account of present-day College Football"
    Where does The System rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is in the top 10%.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The System?

    Mike Leach is a great character and they do a good job tying him in throughout.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes, but impossible bc of 17 hours of content.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phillip 12-02-14
    Phillip 12-02-14
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    "Best book I have read all year (Gladwell fan)"
    Would you listen to The System again? Why?

    Absolutely, excellent journalism. Well cited. Both interesting and objective.


    What other book might you compare The System to and why?

    Think NY Times journalism with a Malcolm Gladwell tone. You can't often find books having to do with football that are not focused on inspiring or condemning. It has a fair and in depth look for something I knew little about.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I thought everything with Mike Leech as very solid.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd Duluth, MN, United States 09-08-14
    Todd Duluth, MN, United States 09-08-14 Member Since 2016
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    "An inside guide to the college football machine"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it provides an intimate look at many sides of college football. It hits on the highlights and lowlights, while striving to explain college football as objectively as possible.


    What does Mark Deakins bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice is strong and he brings a sort of energy to a high-energy and high-emotion topic.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no...it's too long.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought this book was going to delve into and highlight more scandal than anything, but that was not the case. It did discuss scandals, and went in depth, but that was not the overall focus of the book. This book wants the reader to understand the big picture of what goes into college football, and acknowledges that scandals of all sort (recruiting, sexual, criminal, coaching abuses, boosters, ect...) are a part of that. It does not try and fix this or offer ways of avoiding these issues, but rather accepts it as the dirty underbelly of a business that creates a silly amount of money. The authors also highlight the positives stories with regard to players coming from nowhere and discusses how many coaches are looking out for the best interests of the players in many occasions (although not all). The book is presented in such a fashion as to keep the reader (listener) interested.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Steve Wren
    England
    3/19/15
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    "Hugely informative"

    Interesting, exciting, inspirational and somewhat depressing in places. Everything was well explained and the author and narrator really sell the excitement and appeal of college athletics. I enjoyed it a lot.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A. Turner
    6/24/16
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    "just amazing inside look at college football"

    This book gives an inside look at the whole world of college football, from booster's, hostesses, AD's via players, coaches and the Game day TV crew. Fascinating and insightful, I learnt so much, if you have any interest in college football you cannot fail to find this book interesting. The biggest compliment that I can pay the narrator is that he enhanced my enjoyment of a fascinating book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lloyd Gunton
    5/26/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "good listen very enjoyable"

    I enjoyed listening to the book. narrator was good if a little dry and it gave some good insights. I was expecting a little more of an expose based on the blurb but that might have just been my misinterpretation. overall highly enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • CHRIS
    5/22/16
    Overall
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    Story
    "Great Listen"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes


    What did you like best about this story?

    Very informative


    Which character – as performed by Mark Deakins – was your favourite?

    n/a


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    n/a


    Any additional comments?

    Really enjoyed listening to this, very informative and interesting, certainly one of the best books I've purchased on Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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