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University of Nike

How Corporate Cash Bought American Higher Education
Narrated by: Chris Andrew Ciulla
Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The dramatic exposé of how the University of Oregon sold its soul to Nike, and what that means for the future of our public institutions and our society.

In the mid-1990s, facing severe cuts to its public funding, the University of Oregon - like so many colleges across the country - was desperate for cash. Luckily, the Oregon Ducks' 1995 Rose Bowl berth caught the attention of the school's wealthiest alumnus: Nike founder Phil Knight, who was seeking new marketing angles at the collegiate level. And so the University of Nike was born: Knight has so far donated more than half a billion dollars to the school in exchange for high-visibility branding opportunities.

But as journalist Joshua Hunt reveals in University of Nike, Oregon has paid dearly for the veneer of financial prosperity and athletic success that has come with this brand partnering. Hunt uncovers efforts to conceal university records, buried sexual assault allegations against university athletes, and cases of corporate overreach into academics and campus life. Encompassing more than just sports and the academy, University of Nike is a riveting story of our times.

©2018 Joshua Hunt (P)2019 Tantor

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A book about so much more than the title suggests

Joshua Hunt’s book University of Nike is a must read. It is so much more than a book chronicling the rise of Nike as a company or how it then used its seemingly infinite resources (and market recognition) to influence higher education at the University of Oregon. Further, it is also more than a book about how college sports have come to overshadow other aspects of the mission at public research universities throughout the U.S.. Stories of individuals at the center of the crisis who faced ethical choices with far-reaching impacts they possibly never anticipated are woven together with the larger historic arc of legislative and economic conditions that left public higher education vulnerable to exploitation, Hunt demonstrates in exhaustive detail the reason these institutions exist, how we as a society lost sight of their importance, and what they are now becoming. I initially hesitated to purchase this book because I have zero interest in collegiate athletics. I am glad I took the risk. While I was already suspicious of changes at universities brought on by the increasing importance of sports on college campuses, the story Hunt tells is much more comprehensive, fascinating and, sadly, much more dire than I expected. Whether you are a faculty member, a university administrator, a high school student deciding where to go to college, or even a booster for your alma mater’s football team, you will find information here that will surprise you. For legislators and tax payers (i.e., pretty much everyone), this should be required reading.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful