Top positive review
Outrage, a complete lack of ethics...
Reviewed in the United States on June 19, 2000
I've suspected for decades that the college recruiting process was (is), to a certain extent, corrupt.
To even the casual observer of college basketball, at the upper echelon of Division I, there is (has been) an uneven playing field. It's as if some colleges have had the top five picks in the annual draft for several years in a row.
On the surface the uneven playing field seems impossible to explain, but books like "Sole Influence" begin to shed light of the corruption that mars college basketball -- the search for the next Michael Jordan.
In a series of anecdotes, the authors provide case studies of how, especially, Nike and Addidas have made a mess of AAU basketball, especially in large urban centers.
It's difficult, almost impossible, to get first hand information, especially from big-name college coaches -- few go on the record. What "Sole Influence" reveals, seems to me, is the tip of the iceberg.
The most shocking revelations surround the role played by George Raveling, the former head coach at Washington State, Iowa and USC. Thankfully, Raveling made himself available to the authors and provides candid comments which, while attempting to rationalize his role in this sorry mess, tend to indict him as one of the prime offenders.
The book, although poorly edited, contains much food for thought and is worthy of reading and reflection by serious college basketball fans.
The authors include a good index, but omit footnotes and a bibliography of sources. Also, a complete list of names of persons interviewed for the book would have been appreciated. To the layman, many of these "characters" are complete strangers.
The authors have included capsule introductions to the book's key "characters," which are especially helpful for those of us unfamiliar with the shoe company corruption of AAU basketball.
I agree with those who've commented about the book's excessive repetition, as the authors do a thorough job of indicting the shoe companies.
The authors do provide some implied remedies for the problems they've documented. Whether these recommendations are feasible, given the hunger for dollars, is questionable and discouraging.
Again, this title is recommended for college basketball fans who care about the integrity of the game. The book makes me wonder to what extent college basketball has integrity.