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tv   BOOK TV  CSPAN  March 12, 2016 6:00pm-7:31pm EST

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>> we have dave here, who is a 39 year veteran of the
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"washington post" which as a survival of the fittest by any measure. dave is here to talk about his relatively new book on top of a long list of great books. for those foowing what has been happening in detroit a book on michigan is a big thing. next, michael hilton has been forever in other places and forever at the los angeles. micha michael wrote about the affects of silence, technology and policy and his new book is
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titled "big science" and it is an incredible story of how science went from being important, valid and meaningful to very big with a lot of mown money. gilbert is last on the panel. he is long associated with a number of papers and wrote briefly for the "washington post" and new york times. brilliant work with the philadelphia inquirer. and the first work came from the cox field republican.
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when america goes big it is interesting. i want to begin with a quick note i think it is important. everything came from daily newspapers and this country has daily newspapers. you can maintain a newsroom. you try, not successfully to cover. if we ever needed people who
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knew how to go big in journalism this is is. i will start with dave. dave, your book, you those to write about detroit and do a remarkable thing and take a lot of personality and amplify it. i was especially struck by one figure in your book and i want to get the middle name right. the reverend clerence franklin. this is what we are finding in all three books; they have an intersectionality. reverend franklin new smoky robson, and martin luther king junior and mitt romney's dad. tell us about him. >> you are right. he is an intersection of many of the threads in the book. the book for you who don't know i wrote about what detroit gave
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america which is a huge amounts. not just cars we think of but the soundtrack of my generation, motown, and the labor movement, and civil rights. reverend cl franklin was the most poplar preacher in detroit in the '50s and '60s. his baptist church was so big on hastings street that people during good weather would stand outside by the hundreds to listen to sermons by loud speaker. during the week, he would travel with a traveling troop that included three daughters. one who was aretha franklin. people would call out for his sermons as though we was a rock star. they would say deliver the eegal stir the -- the eagle stirring
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the nest. once aretha was starting to right, franklin got interested in being part of the active civil rights movement and he brought martin luther king to the area. '63 was that crucial here of birmingham and the summer of civil rights and the united auto workers, led by walter ruth, had been the civil rights bank for that period. they are the ones who provided the bail money to get king and his people out of jail in birmingham. king comes to detroit june 23rd 1963. he walks arm and arm with reverend franklin and the progressive police chief george edwards who was brought in after years of tension between the african-american community and the police -- much like what we see today around the country.
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sadly it has been there for a long long time and hasn't improved. they walked down woodward avenue. it is there that king delivered the first major version of the i have a dream speech.
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>> i wish i had the new book, i would hold it up, but it is a group of circles with different figures. >> not only did walter ruther walk arm and arm but berry gordon junior who founded motown recorded the speech. it was the first speech recorded. all of the threads came together and that is what this diagram shows. >> mitt romney's dad is floating in as a good guy.
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going back to a horrible race white between the whites who came up to work in the plants from appalachian mountains. mitt romney's dad was progressive on race and the huge issue was open housing. there were squads trying prevent african-americans from moving in and rom george romney supported the open house laws so in that sense he was more progressive than his son. >> pretty good guy. we will come back and talk about the intersections between the books in regards to money and power and what it does to some places and some entities like science and sports.
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full disclosure. we come from the same newspaper in madison, wisconsin. he is a wonderful writer and a wonderful newspaper. martha reed? i interviewed her for the book. one of the thrills of my reporting, i have on tape
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interviews with bill clinton and barack obama and mohomed ali. but she talks about teaching classical musical training in public schools in detroit. and she broke into song when i was interviewing her. it is on tape and she did the high note at age 72. but, yeah, the first motor town review left detroit in 1962 in october right when the cuban missile crisis was breaking out. so the first stop was howard theater in washington. 50 years later, my wife went to the theater, martha reed, age 72, is on stage dancing. they come and go and cities have the decoosition and composition and motown is for
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them. [applause] >> michael, your book looks at how science went political. you do the most dangerous thing and pulled it off. you go and look around and find the guy who was the vehicle by which science went big. it is earnest or randal lawrence who we associate with the psychotron and nuclear fizzbs. you made an incredible figure in that he seems to be sitting in eisenhower and tell us a little bit more. >> as he alluded, it would be fair to say lawrence is the reverend.
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he was the most famous american-born scientist in the country. i don't think we can point to anyone in science who had his level of authority and respect.
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there were natural emissions from radium and they knew the next step had to be something that derived from human ability. by inventing the cyclotron he
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ushered in the area of multi-million apparatus and the there that brought together foundations, governments, universities, lots of groups. es eisenhower signed the alarm saying we are getting together where the public in the is going to be left behind. that has been a situation that has lasted to today.
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we are needing needs of society because we are involved in monumental science, a resort that lawrence began and he continued the process through the role in the manhattan project. it is probably the most single-most important scientific figure in the manhattan project.
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more important than the guy who started out his friend and became his bitter enemy and continued the process after the war by promoting thermonuclear weapons. that is part of the nuance of his career. he started off as a great scientific hero and ended with a shadow over his career. >> i read over eisenhower's speech prior to this and it speech less about the military and more about science. it a speech about big science. >> it was precedent. if you read it today you would say this is the world we live in. what he was talking about was the threat to science and academics from the big money and influence of the military and industries in what really should be the independent straight
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forward search for t truth. >> last thing i want to ask you about is your book, only in a small section, but you redeem herald stassan. he passed away not too long ago and ran for president nine or ten times and became something of a national comic relief. as a young man... >> we was a remarkable figure actually and made himself into a national joke by continually running for president at a point when everybody knew i don't know if it was an expression of vanity or triumph of hope over reality. he was a successful governor and brought to washington by eisenhower. it was a point where we were
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involved with a delicate dance with the soviet union over how to get testing or monitor tests of atomic weapons and how to disa disarm. when appointed, he told eisenhower that he should introduce him to the press as the secretary of peace. and he thought about it and didn't do it but he introduced himself as the press of peace. his influence did last and led in a way to the first advances of the the negotiations we had. >> and in the book he does a great job of putting the
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scientist and how we should look at them. this wrestling of seeing where science goes no matter what or put a few con traints on it. >> this was an era when science became political. ernest lawrence was always dead set against allowing politics in the lab and said it would be a terrible distraction. he could not get politics out of the lab and got involved in politics himself. >> michael! [applause] >> your book as as much politics and money in it as a book about big science. you are looking at big sports. as we do the book, you correctly point ought there are many figures here. but i was especially interested in your kind of intellectual and personal interaction with a
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certain coach at the university of alabama who, lots of interactions, exactly. nick sabin is getting $7 million a year which is ten times what the president of the university gets and 17 times what a professor gets. >> this is a book about college football, really. i became interested in the economics and how it became modified over the decades and how the revenue grew from here to 85 in 2011-2011.
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everybody knows the coaches have doubled and tripled over the years. particularly in the last decade. sabin was interesting because i actually got to sit down with him day back in 1999. he put this on the table right away. he is a terrific coach and no argument about that. he thought he was underpaid and didn't think they gave enough opportunities for him to boast his income on the side. he thought he was being held back. he is more or less in play at
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that time. lsu had been going through a tough stretch football wise. thee they had a couple successful years and fired the coach but nick sabin is on the radio. they brought him down to lsu and who is on the plane do you think to bring him back to lsu? the chancellor of university who is now the president of the ncaa. do you think anyone is going to try to tamp down the salaries of coaches or raise issues about this? it is not coming from the ncaa. i think emery earns like two million or a little more. sabin, fast forward today, goes to lsu, wins the national
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championship, does the pros and does terribly. someone else comes with a plane to pick him up at alabama. he is hired in alabama and up to 7.1 million. i am interested in the question of how does this marketplace work for coaches? there is no marketplace for the coaches, really. the mythology is there is only so many guys who can run a major football program which basically means fill up the stands and bring la lot of money in and wi a few games and there is nobody else we have to go find the name and open up the checkbook and pay them five-seven million
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dollars. there were six coaches in all of sports who earned a million back in the 1990's. just for football as of last year there was something like 80 earning more than a million. there are ten guys earning five million or more. sabin's justification for being paid $1.7 million is a business response. you have to look at the return on investment. i went and looked at the return on investment and it is interesting. if you look at football as a business at alabama they bring in more money but sabin is expensive and the cost of the program went up dramatically. how do you set the metrics for a guy like this? championship? filling up the stadium?
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they are saying we get more applications and are a hot school and people are interested. that is true if you look at alabama in their applications two 3rds of the students who go to the university of alabama come from out of state. it is a good thing? economically it is good because they are probably playing full great but i am not so sure about that. >> you write about the intersection of media in these big programs. you have a striking quote in the book and i will read it.
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to set it up he is doing what he is probably doing every day and it is safe to say you loved this. >> when i was 19. >> you want to watch a game, there are so many on and all of these schools. you have to close this deal by being the game or one of the games. he writes restless and increasingly board and unavailable to -- bored -- enjoy any game he tuned out and watched a movie. i thought the question to ask as reading this is are we ruining this thing? >> i think oversaturation is having an affect. i look at college football as a bubble.
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we are not at the point where it will break but over the next ten years it will probably break at some level. they have all overpaid dramatic for this. the younger generation of kids is more interested in looking at cell phones than going to breaks. there are declining students in the stadiums. georgia had to buy back tickets because the students were not interested. in the short term it was good deal but in the long run maybe not so good. i had this odd sensation watching the games and saturday night as like ten games on and they are all good games.
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i would watch one and wonder what is going on with the other game and so on. after a while, i had no interest or investment in any of the games and would get bored and watch a movie. >> tell me about the intersection of capitalism in sports? >> that part has been going on for a while. the college athletic departments are stand alone entertainment
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divisions. they go out and make their money. the athletic directors are good at business and making tons of money. it has impacts on the school from the brand to the academics. a week doesn't go by in which there isn't a scandal, directly or in directly, and all of them involve the men's or women's basketball team.
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>> tell us about the intersection of capital and science. where does the benefit come? where does it start to fall apart? >> in 1961, one of the disciples who was running the oak ridge national lab that lawrence founded and designed for the manhattan project, an article was written in science magazine and the term was coined big science. he was unsure about these and said we are ending up with the constructions of monuments, our periods and arks, the idea of
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going to the moon and such, will raise questions on if this is the best way to spend society's resources. do we know to be known more for putting a man on mars or curing cancer? he said we are turning our universities administrators and science department heads into bureaucrats, promoters, and they have to go out and raise more money to make science bigger and that is not a good thing. we have seen that because we see lot of programs that need more nurturing and being overwhelmed by the idea of throwing three or four billion at a program with a request for an achievement that may not actually happen.
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this debate started in the 1960's and we are still having it. it played into the death of the super conducting, super collider in texas in the 1990's when congress decided it was too expensive and the physics communities couldn't get their act together to say this is why we need it. the projects are becoming harder to justify to the average lay person and becoming more expensive. i think you can make the case this work needs to be done and is of value but just the scale of expenditure is overshadowing the whole enterprise. >> michael has spoken about things 50-60 years ago but it is
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staggering contemporary. all of the arks that begin 50-60 years ago come into this moment and you see so many of them well-realized. did capitalism fail detroit or get beyond detroit? the forces of >> the forces of capitalism and market by corporate executives helped kill detroit. the auto industry bailed out of the city physically and emotionally a long time ago. you know, my book takes place,
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the art of it is 1963, this is before the race rebellion riots of '67. before the difficulties from the city pensions, before the mun e municipal direction. you could say it had to do with capitalism from moving away. you read the papers that walter ruther wrote in 1963 and you will see him, again, predicting what was going to happen with technology and the effects it would have on the workforce over the next 50 years. now you have michigan which was the heart of the labor movement as a right to work state.
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i think detroit in many ways is an example of the push and pull between government, capitalism, regulation, and deregulation, and free trade, restrictive trade, all of that comes into play in the rise and fall and perhaps the rise again of detroit. >> the people of detroit get blamed with ease or as seen as somehow -- >> i agree with that completely. the demonization of citizens in a situation in which they are vict victims -- deminization -- is part of the human reality.
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certainly there are problems in urban centers that have to do with individual responsibility but the structural forces that surround detroit are overwhelming. the most important word in my title is "in". it was not once a great city. but it is still a great city if the forces that realize that detroit helped make america help bring it back. >> your questions will be picked up by c-span so you have to speak up. millions across america are fascinated by your discourse. this is a pain to ask you to do this quickly but we are in the
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middle of an election year. david, you have been out traveling all across the country looking at this kind. look at this moment. and take what you learn from doing the book, what you gained, your insights, and how are they int interse intersecting with the mome you are in. >> it reminds me of 1968 in a way but it is different in a larger sense. it is the colmination of sefrvel influences. reality tv, leaving people mind, and everything is coming together in this point and i
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think when you look at detroit and flint, you know the immigration problem, the neglect of the cities, the macomb county where many of the reagan democrats were born in 1980 and now many of them are trump democrats who trump won over. you see that being played out this year. >> michael? >> you are saying you are writing more stuff online than in paper. you always wrote a lot about politics. where do you find the intersections this year? >> i think we all notice the loss of faith in the system. american and british science emerged from world war ii with
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incredible ability. they were treated as super men, not very men women, who won the war and became heroes. science coming from the manhattan project went into the nuclear power technology some as a way to maybe deal with the guilt they had begun to feel. but nuclear power was a poison chalice to those bargaining depending on the term you want to use.
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this is cemented by people who want to use politics in the area of climate change. we have seen strongly it is the loss of faith and the loss of trust in what we used to treat as athoritative institutions that infected american politics and led us to the point we are at today. >> gill? >> sports is wrapped up with the funding of the universities and stadiums. doesn't play out across presidential politics. but a download on the intersections there. >> along the way, i had an interesting conversation with an athletic director at one of the largest college in the country. he explained to me how once a
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year, he and a couple other athletic directors, got together and went to washington and brought along a football coach or two. i said why would you do that? and he said the congressmen slobber all over the football coaches. it is true. and the way this plays out in a concrete way is as follows. i have a chapter in my book about college football. it falls under the umbrella of universities and they are treated as 501-c charities so college football is a charity enterprise. >> much like many campaign organizations. >> the irs has several times attempted to deal with this issue and do exactly what it should do which is when it sees donors, somebody buying seats,
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at alabama, for example, or ohio state or wherever, and you don't pay the face value of the tickets. now because of the demand you are required to join a booster club or make an annual payment which they call a seat donation which can be up to $15-$20,000 a year. the irs said that is a quid quo pro. they started to go after it and the politics come in. the football lobby turned to their friends in congress and in 1988 it was written into legislation if you are a fan, and i am taking this number up, $10,000 a year as a seat denation you get to deduct $80% of it.
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that is how the politics pay off in college football. we have turned the notion of charity upside down. >> question for bigilbert. should college and basketball players in college be paid? should they be required to be students? and if they do get paid how do you keep the smaller programs from going out of business the >> it is a great question and a number of slices to it.
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the schools are going to get the costf of attends and a lot of kids are poor and need pocket money. the football players and basketball players are not going to be happy very long getting 3-4,000. they are going to want to get $20,000 or $25,000.
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the model shows the players as victims and they are the ones putting their lives at risk and they should get the money. i don't care if you pay them or not but you will have consequences once you go to a model and start paying the athletes large amounts of money. you are conceding this is a commercial business and that raises the tax issue. if you raise the tax issue and say you will start taxing this as income the model begins to waiv waiver. if you go after the seat donations saying it is not charity we will begin to tax this the model collapses. there is not enough money to
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keep it the way it is going now. and not to be overly critical but they are not thinking about this fully. >> i like sports writers. >> let's take this gentlemen. >> this a question for gilbert and john. when you think about the high salaries paid to coaches, the question of paying players, even if not the scholarships and benefits, the legislatures in various states took a jaundice eye toward this. they certainly don't support much in the line of athletics. are those high salaries being paid to coaches? is what is going on in sports
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paying off? >> the presidents back in the '70s and '80s were embarrassed by the scandals that they pushed off the athletic drink directors and said do what you do but we are not going to give you money. but the directors are good and raised a lot of money. the state legislatures have little to do with this i would say. >> my question is in the sense with respect to the salaries being paid and the stadiums being built and the acting athletic department being told
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to find their own money there is a lot of cutbacks in state slarz --ledgislatlegislaters. >> a lot of them get comped and free tickets and are sitting in the boxes at the games. they are not going to take this on. >> the way we broke a little over a century ago, the way we broke the corruption in the state was when robert was elected governor of wisconsin he took away the railroad passes and that good the debates. the court you are going ought here is bigger than academics and that is we literally are allowing entities to which to exist separate from the states who become a secondary player.
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it is a spectator and you end up with these situations that gill is talking about where you have so many students coming from outside and those connections start to get broken. >> i might want to throw in we have seen this through science and basic science basically get impoverished because you need government money to fund it. what is taking over? industry. businesses are funding programs and institutes and when business funds something it is doing it for its own interest. as a result, we have seen a preversion of science from basic science -- perversion -- to applied industrial science. they are pursuing what the patrons want. some whole patening system, we have professors -- who are
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being funded by the public and patenting discoverries and -- discoveries and are in it for themselves. we see an ease in academia about the desire to do something about it. >> and no more clearly in the state we love in, wisconsin, where the whole idea was the university was a laboratory for the entire state and now it is a laboratory for corporate america. >> a good question over here.
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>> is there any question about the modern attitude changing? >> there have been studies on this. there is a claim there is a soft flow of money from athletics from donations that the big athletic donors are giving big dollars to the university for academics. the studies are split down the middle. half say uh-huh and half say yes, there is definitely impact there. my sense from what i could tell, talking with athletic directors is there is some impact but it tend to be temporary and it is not nearly as large as you might think or they claim.
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>> i want to make sure understand colleges having more dictating or having input in the kinds of people who graduate from college and can have a m k marketable skill. where is that part of the conversation? don't kids want jobs when they get out? >> they do. but i think businesses and corporations that have funded a lot of this research and universities, which are exploiting patented discoveries and inventions, that is a short-term interest you are seeing. people wail will say the seed
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corn is basic research. if a company comes in saying we want to create an institute of biotechnology at the university of stan ford the university will say yeah, sure, and allow a corporation to dictate a lot more than are responsible university administrator should allow. we are not training young scientist to follow their noses as much. we are training them how to find university grants, foundation grants, corporate grands, foundation grants and things that are narrowly focused and
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things i think will hurt us. >> dave, you write about american politics and have done incredible books on presidential campaigns and many of them over the years. isn't the question going to the heart of your stuff? we are a country that doesn't have policy where the government comes in and plans in the way you might in germany or some place. we live a lot to what corporations decide is the right way to organize an economy, how we do jobs and all sorts of things. that is how detroit gets left behind in a game like that does it not? >> it does. and i think that is a very valid question you raiseded. i think there is another answer to that as well though and that is jobs come to a place that have a good public education system. that is one of the drawing points of why people would come to madison, wisconsin or detroit
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in the 1940s. so it is both the notion of we will train people for these jobs and the jobs train is not what brings the jobs. it is the foundation that brings the jobs and that is what happened to detroit and places around the country; the foundation crumbles. >> i am in a position starting out in high energy physics myself and ending up writing the economic history of silicone valley where i lived.
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my son is a computational gen genetics which didn't even exist in my day. we were right in moving public money out of that area. he got a higher gain and moved the money into material science which helped the micro electronic business take off. this thing is a million times better than what i used as an undergrad at harvard. and biotech has been invested in. we are making progress in that area. and that is a combination of public and private money. >> i think you are right and briefly -- >> as i said, michael, you would be amazed at how briefly. >> it is an evolutionary process.
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basic science and research starts, needs government patronage because no corporation can see how it can profit from something at the basic level like that. we saw that through the creation of the internet. the question is at what point do you free a technology that the was created with government funding? i would suggest that the tendency has been to bring commercial in the in much earlier in the process. >> we are on the cusp of this. we turn to you for your final and brief question. >> i don't have a question. i have a comment. i am canadian from a city called windsor, south of detroit, just across the river. i i have no ax to grind but detroit has really made some
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great progress in the last, three-five years. i have heard only bad things and i thought somebody should say something good about them. >> no, detroit is on its way back. both in the downtown area that is thriving, the midtown area that is becoming a new brooklyn, and you know, until it gets all of the neighborhoods involved in that recovery you cannot call it a true renaissance but the essence of my book is it as a great city and it is coming back. thank you for your comments. >> that is very important. these three gentlemen have written beautiful and poetic books.
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>> host: we're talking about sports and money. you reference this a little bit in the talk, but the political.
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>> guest: the support at the state level is more indirect. we're not going to do anything that's going to hurt the college football team. think about it, politically you don't win any votes by taking on your college football team if you're in nebraska, texas or louisiana. that's just not going to happen. so they basically keep their hands off. you know, they may provide some state capitol some money for new stadiums, they may kick in towards that, they may approve the bonds that you're selling to fund your stadium. >> host: all right. i've been asking this question for the last week or so. >> guest: yeah. >> host: my mom's a big indiana university basketball fan. indiana won the big ten. >> guest: right. >> host: why is there a big ten tournament after that which indiana's already lost in? >> guest: right. i'm not a basketball expert, but the answer's real simple, because you can get television. if you get television exposure, you're getting yet more revenue blowing into the athletic d..
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it's the same reason with march madness. all of the excitement is great, right? but you have to step back and think about the hundreds of millions of dollars that are generated by the tournament that flows back to the conferences which in turn, you know, they act like atm machines for the schools. they then pump the money back to the athletic departments. >> host: so the bowl system that college football plays, all about money in. >> guest: it's all about money. it's completely about money. yeah, yeah. and the playoff system that they just revamped two years ago is kicking out extraordinary sums of money to those conferences in the so-called five super conferences, the sec, the big ten, etc., pac-12 here in arizona. i think it was $70 million per conference just from those playoffs last year. >> host: it's a market thing. this is what people want. >> guest: yeah. [laughter] that doesn't mean that there aren't issues. [laughter] people like to be entertained, no question about that. i mean, we're talking about the
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economy. the largest change in our economy over the last three decades is that we now focus far more on our entertainment economy than we do on manufacturing. and sports is a big part of that. >> host: gilbert gaul is our guest. cece is calling in from portland, oregon. go ahead, please. >> caller: yes. i just wanted to get your comments about paying athletes. i just really think it's unconscionable, the degree to which everyone has an excuse as to why the athletes don't need any money as they're raking in millions. we're in a capitalist society. we get, oh, be satisfied, you know, with your degree that you may get that you probably won't use, the scholarship that can be cut at any time, or if i get hurt, i don't get paid. i'm raking in millions, and i can tell you, you don't need any money. i'm just galled at the fact that we allow that. but it just really speaks to just the greed in the program
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and the way that they're really making money off the backs of the labor of these young men. and i just think it's horrible. but everyone seems to think that's okay as long as their pockets are getting filled. >> guest: yeah, i don't think that's accurate. i mean, i think that a lot of people think it's not okay and that the argument is that the players ought to be paid and that that's where the momentum is going. so in the short term, they're doing this thing called cost of attendance, full cost of attendance, and they'll be paying the athletes certainly in these five super conferences anywhere from a couple thousand dollars up to $5,000. that's pocket change in the grand scheme of things. you're absolutely right, this is a business. there's no argument about that. but you have to think through what you're suggesting. if you're going to start paying these players $20,000, $30,000 or even more if you go to a competitive bidding system when you're recruiting a star quarterback, for example, and in five schools offer him between
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$50,000 and $100,000, how does that then impact back on, a, the business model for the athletic department, how does it affect the tax status of athletics at universities? i would argue that if you're going to pay the players huge sums of money, you're going to immediately have tax issues for the players, and you're going to have tax issues for the business model because you're no longer able to hide behind the notion that this somehow is purely an educational exercise. you're acknowledging it's a business, and if it's a business, then it's going to be taxed. and once you begin to tax it, then the model begins to unravel. so there's some complications to paying players. i'm not arguing whether you should pay players a lot of money. i agree with you, they're the ones who are getting the concussions, they're the ones who are generating the huge sums of money. all i'm saying is you have to think it through that there are complications at the end of this. >> host: steve is in stafford, virginia. hi, steve. >> caller: hi, eric.
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i have a question for the author, and that is -- >> host: please go ahead. >> caller: i'm a graduate from the university of oregon, and i know several years ago phil knight, a fellow graduate, had contributed multimillion dollars to the university -- >> guest: yep. >> caller: -- to build a very, very fine state of the art, perhaps one of the finest in the nation, training and athletic facility. and my question is -- >> guest: yeah. >> caller: -- was, did he receive any tax breaks as a result of that contribution? >> guest: phil knight would not talk with me, but you have to assume that he took the same deductions from taxes as a charitable gift that anyone would take giving that huge sum of money to the university. i've been to both of -- well, knight has financed, i don't know, somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 million in athletic facilities at oregon including the $70 million football performance center and
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a $42 million academic support center that looks like the modern museum of art when you go in it. it's just -- both facilities are extraordinarily lavish. finish so, yeah. i mean, i assume that he took tax deductions. he would have been nuts not to. >> host: gilbert gaul, speaking of large sports companies like nike, do they have a vested interest in bigtime college sports? >> guest: oh, yeah, yeah. this has been going on for decades. it started with nike probably, i'm guessing here, back in the early '90s or maybe even the late '80s, shortly after the company was formed. phil knight is a genius, let's acknowledge that. and part of that is marketing. and he realized that if he gets his brands on the backs of the athletes and you see the nike swoosh, the ubiquitous swoosh every time you turn on a game, that has some marketing/advertising value. he also, nike also has played a very integral role at oregon in
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terms of helping their marketing for their athletic department. the money that he's given to the university with, everything from designing the uniforms that they wear on saturdays to mixing and matching which uniforms they're going to wear on saturdays. so it's a huge impact. >> host: next call for gilbert gaul, author of "billion dollar ball," comes from dave in louisville. >> caller: hey, thanks. so, you know that the university of louisville had a self-imposed ban on their post-tournament play and the ncaa tournament. >> guest: right. >> caller: can you help me understand a rough estimate of the amount of money not flowing to the university from that choice? [laughter] >> guest: yeah. i'll just correct you and say not flowing to the athletic department, not to the university. because that's where the money would have gone. i, you know, boy, a really rough ballpark estimate is going to be
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it's clearly going to be several million dollars that they would lose out. the way -- it's a little bit tricky because the money flows through the conference, and then the money gets divided up. each conference has a slightly different formula for how to determine how much money a school's going to get depending on how far it gets in the tournament. but louisville always has a great basketball team, so i'm sure they would have gotten at least a couple rounds into the tournament which means, you know, more money for the conference which in turn would have meant a bigger payout to louisville. you know, for the sake of argument let's just leave it at $1, $2 million. >> host: gilbert gaul, one and done. what is this doing to athletics at the college level? >> guest: again, i'm not a basketball guy, but it's obviously. it makes it a much more commercial enterprise. you're bringing in a kid who's clearly not there as a student-athlete. he's looking at this as, basically, the minor leagues or the development league for the
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nba to play basketball. so, you know, it's the pretense that these folks are student-athletes goes out the windowment it makes the sport -- window. it makes the sport very disruptive. it's hard to be a fan if your great player is only there one year and then he's in the nba, which is what's happening. kentucky in particular with john calipari, you know, has made a science out of that. but even duke university with che che sky is now doing the one and done. from the standpoint of competing, i guess you have to do it in order to compete at the highest levels. in terms of the impact on the sport, i would say it's having a deleterious impact on the sport. >> host: what terms are they given? >> guest: well, they get a lot of support which is why i always hesitate when people are quick to say that the athletes are victims. i don't think the athletes are victims. i think they get a lot of support. you could argue they ought to get more money. that's a slightly different issue.
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but if you come in and you're a major football player, they probably bring you in early at least during the summer, if not six months before the school season starts. they put you through a summer course that does everything from introduce you to the library to, you know, go over sort of issues about what you and cannot do on the campus before you're going to get in trouble. [laughter] the academic support is extraordinary. one of the biggest changes in college sports, major college sports over the last two decades, is the creation of these things called academic support centers for athletes. they're totally exclusive for athletes. the same services are unavailable to regular students. the schools spend millions of dollars, in some cases tens of millions of dollars on buildings. they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions of dollars on tutors. oregon told me that they did 1700 hours of tutoring a week during the school season. during the football season.
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think about that. 1700 hours of tutoring. in some cases, they knock on the doors of athletes to wake them up in the morning, in some cases they walk them to class, they have people positioned outside the doors of the classrooms and, basically, have a sign-in sheet. you have to sign in and show the coach that you went to class, and if you don't show up, they call the coach and say, hey, he didn't show up this morning. so the level of support is dramatic. and i will tell you, one of the things i did was i compared it to the services that the schools gave or give to their smartest and best students in their honors colleges at public universities. and who do you think gets a lot more? the athletes. the football players. they get dramatically more than the kids, the smartest and best, most ambitious, aspirational students in the schools. >> host: so if i were here at the university of arizona studying veterinary science, should i be resentful of these
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programs? >> guest: i don't know if resentful's the right word. i think this all goes to the core issue of what's the purpose of the university, you know? is it really all about education? i think what we're seeing in bigtime sports, pigtime college football -- bigtime college football is it's really. no i mean, let's give up the pretense that it is and deal with reality and then figure out how we're going to deal with it. but there's no question that the athletes get far more than a regular student does. >> host: hugh's calling in from ashland, virginia, in the washington, d.c -- not in the washington washington, d.c. area. sorry about that, hugh. please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: yes. i wanted to bring forth something very important in these times. it's about spirituality, because that's going to come into play with today's technologies. and back in the days of rome and the olympics, can you name the players? no. 10,000 years from now will anybody know who the famous
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people were playing sports? probably not. so where is the spirituality with the universities and the sports? is that going to come into play more now in these times? >> guest: i'm not sure i understand the question. when you say "spirituality," what do you mean? >> guest: i mean being transparent with the money. not the greed, but the things that will do things for the betterment of mankind can overall. if you're a celebrity -- >> guest: oh, well -- >> caller: -- somebody from the community to bless those who can't help themselves. >> host: we got the point, hugh. thank you very much. >> guest: no, i got it. the short answer is this has nothing to do with that. and there's -- other than, i guess, somebody saying i'm getting a good feeling because my cleej college team is 9-0 this season, i'm not sure there's much spiritual impact upon the local communities because the football team's very good. in terms of transparency, one of
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the things i discovered in writing "billion dollar ball" was, you know, there's actually very little transparency in college athletic finances. surprisingly so, schools make it hard to get the information. the ncaa, which collects the data, do not make them public. you can't get them from the ncaa. you have to go around and do freedom of information act requests to the public universities themselves in order to get them. there are a few exceptions. i was talking about oregon a little bit. let's give them credit, they're very transparent about their finances. so they're good. county and county state -- kansas and kansas state are very transparent. >> host: late last year we had tom mcmillan interview you for our "after words" program -- >> guest: fun interview. >> host: who's tom mcmillan? >> guest: he was an all-american basketball player at the university of maryland. i think he's my age, about 55, 56. he went on to become a rhodes
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scholar, he also played in the nba. >> host: and was a congressman, of course. >> guest: oh, yes. he was a congressman from maryland. >> host: he's back involved in sports, correct? >> guest: i think he is with -- isn't he the ceo of the athletic directors' association? >> host: i think he is. >> guest: i think he might be. very thoughtful guy. >> host: what did he think of your book? >> guest: you'd have to ask him. i mean, i think he liked it, we had a good conversation. there may have been a few things that he may have taken exception to, but during the interview, anyway, he didn't bring them up. [laughter] >> host: wayne's in san diego. hi, wayne. >> caller: yes, hello. with respect to the football injuries, the more irrefutable the consequences of these injuries, depths, suicides -- deaths, suicides, long-term illness, mental deficiencies, the more refutable the concept, it seems to me, is that you should even continue with football at all regardless of
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whether or not these young men get paid. >> guest: right. >> caller: and they're, in a sense, more than just economic victims, they're victims flat out. >> guest: yeah. and that's a huge issue, concussions and brain damage in particular, not to mention all the other broken bones. [laughter] that is starting to play out at the college level and also at the high school level. there are a number of schools that actually dropped football at the high school level including in, of all places, in texas. so i think you're beginning to see parents saying, you know, i'm not so sure i want my son playing this sport in the future. there's an interesting sort of side question of, okay, well, who will play it then? you could end up with a situation where only the poor kids end up playing football because they see it as a vehicle, a way to get ahead. which would create, you know, a very strange and possibly
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damaging situation. >> host: gilbert gaul, what happens to a young athlete at a college if he's injured early on? is he put out to pasture in a sense? does he still have somebody to wake him up and guide him through classes? >> guest: well, it's a mixed answer. that, too, is beginning to change because that's on the table. the schools, some schools had taken away the scholarships when somebody was injured. back when i was an athlete way back in the '60s and early '70s, by -- i was a pretty good javelin thrower. i came in to school one september, and my athletic scholarship morphed into an academic scholarship. [laughter] i think there's a growing consensus that including in the ncc, give them credit for this, that the schools are obligated that if somebody is injured, that they need to continue the scholarship all the way through, and they need to, you know, to give help to those athletes, these damaged athletes and
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continue to give them tutoring and what not to see them through to get a degree. >> host: next call is in valley forge, pennsylvania. hugh, you're on booktv with author gilbert gaul. >> caller: hello. thank you, mr. gaul. i didn't know about the tax evasion that was going on, but that was -- [laughter] i recently heard a professor speaking about the sports industrial complex, and it was a phrase i'd been looking for for years when i saw this industrial financial megalist just taking over huge sections of society. and once i heard that, i stepped back and realized it's just part of the entertainment industrial complex that is replacing the manufacturing space of the country. >> guest: yep. >> caller: and it's a rather expensive, exclusive club where most of the members are really sucking off very large incomes, and everyone's wondering why the
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country hasn't seen raises. where are the jobs, where -- that's where it is, it's in this entertainment nation that we've become. >> guest: yep. >> caller: i can't imagine what -- >> guest: you're spot on. and robert gordon in his new book about growth makes the same point. i mean, if you look at the last couple of decades where the growth in our country has been in the economy has been in entertainment. it's not in manufacturing, it's not in other real job-producing kinds of businesses. and the problem is, you know, sports is a huge piece of -- and college sports is a huge piece of it. and in terms of, you know, again, there are jobs that get created. obviously, you have coaches, back office operations, things like that. but it's not, it's not the kind of industry like manufacturing was where you basically were taking millions and millions of people and putting them in good-paying jobs. so i think you're absolutely right. >> host: could the president of the university of alabama fire
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nick saban? >> guest: i doubt it. [laughter] not at this point. no. [laughter] >> host: what would happen? >> guest: he or she -- it's a he now, right? he would lose his job. absolutely. i have no doubts about that. yeah. i mean, nick saban is in such an elevated position at this point in time. he wanted to be governor of the state of alabama, he could be governor tomorrow. >> host: jim is in ohio. hi, jim. >> caller: well, i'm sure your guest has heard of this place. >> guest: i have. >> caller: i've coached junior high, seventh and eighth grade football. that might sound like it's off the topic here except for the fact -- >> guest: nope. >> caller: ing a couple of years ago, i want to talk about trickle down poison from the college system which, of course, is trickle down poison from the pros. we won't get into that. >> guest: i know where you're going. [laughter] >> caller: we had a freshman quarterback who was a pretty large boy in high school.
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one of those prototypical -- these days -- quarterbacks, 6-4, 210 pounds as a freshman and looked pretty good. skinny as a rail. but he got a letter of intent signed from ohio state university as a freshman. how can we go about getting the ncaa to prohibit -- because you can imagine what this does to seventh and eighth grade players in terms of weight lifting or anything else to get bigger and stronger and harder as seventh or eighth graders if they think they can start to pave the way to their future as a freshman in high school. >> host: jim, now why did you make that reference to the fact that gilbert gaul knows about macelin, ohio? [laughter] >> caller: for people that are involved in sports, they know that the macelin tiger football had a big history in high school football a while back. but they're pretty well known in
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football, the macelin tiger program. >> host: that's a high school -- >> guest: high school program. >> host: thank you, jim. >> guest: you raise a couple interesting points. this trickle-down effect is absolutely true where, you know, the high school kids watch what happens at the college level, and they watch what happens at the pro level. and that, you know, i don't coach football at your level or at the high school level, but i'm pretty confident that if you interviewed those coaches, they would tell you that the kids are in many cases difficult to coach, that it becomes -- especially if you're getting a letter of intent as a freshman, you know? is that kid still coachable? is he going to listen to the high school coach, or is he going to strut around and say, look, i've got a letter of intent in my back pocket from ohio state, i must be pretty good and know what i'm already doing. so you have that going on. there is talk at the ncaa, i know, about sort of scaling back the ages at which coaches can go
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after stud four and five-star high school athletes. i don't know whether that'll go through, whether the coaches will go along with it at the college level. but, boy, i'll tell you, at the college level it's -- i forget which schools this involved, but i know i was looking at a number of athletes who literally on one day would get 170 letters in their mailbox from -- all signed by the coaches at the schools saying come to our schools. we really want you. you know? one of the schools actually included the zip code in it as a way of trying to recruit the kid. [laughter] and it didn't quite work out. but, you know, the amount of attention that goes to high school athletes these days, look, they're on tv all the time. espn has high school football games on, you know, part of the week. they have all these basketball tournaments and all these potential tournaments for the kids. how can your ego not swell with all of that attention? >> host: could you go back to that zip code reference?
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>> guest: i forget how it worked. i'd have to go back and read my own book. [laughter] it had something to do with the kid that they were recruiting, they thought it would give them an edge. but in the end, he went to another school with a different zip code. >> host: gilbert gaul. here's the book, "billion dollar ball: a journey through the big money culture of college football." thanks for being on booktv, sticking around with us. >> guest: thank you for having me on. it's been great. >> host: live coverage from the tucson festival of books continues tomorrow. now tomorrow, another full day of live coverage. author panels and author call-ins. some of the topics include immigration, race in america, voting rights and t.j. stiles, pulitzer prize-winning historian, will also be talking about his most recent week about george custer -- recent book about george custer: go to our web site, and get the full schedule. or you can follow us on twitter to get schedule updates all day
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long at twitter -- [laughter] @booktv is our twitter handle. thanks for being with us today. we'll see you tomorrow. everything you've seen today will re-air. that begins at midnight tonight, and our full day of coverage begins its re-air at midnight. >> you're watching booktv on c-span2, television for serious readers. here's a look at what's on prime time tonight. we kick off the evening with crystal wright who discusses her book, "con job: how democrats gave us crime, sanctuary cities, abortion profiteering and racial division." then at 8:30 edward langel reports on the financial papers of george washington. at ten, michael eric dyson discusses race and the obama presidency on booktv's "after words." and we finish up our prime time programming at 11 with npr's


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