The University of Illinois History Department, the University of Illinois Press and the University of Illinois Archives, along with Clark-Lindsey will help Winton Solberg celebrate the release of his new book, "Creating the Big Ten: Courage, Corruption, and Commercialization", Friday April 6th at 1pm in the Activity Center at Clark-Lindsey. At the reception, Winton Solberg will discuss his book which explores the relationship between higher education and collegiate football in the Big Ten’s first 50 years.
This formative era, described in the book, saw debates over eligibility and amateurism roil the sport. In particular, faculty concerned with academics clashed with coaches, university presidents, and others who played to win. Solberg follows the conference's successful early efforts to put the best interests of institutions and athletes first. Yet, as he shows, commercial concerns undid such work after World War I as sports increasingly eclipsed academics. By the 1940s, the Big Ten's impact on American sports was undeniable. It had shaped the development of intercollegiate athletics and college football nationwide while serving as a model for other athletic conferences.
Winton Solberg is a professor emeritus of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2017 Solberg received the prestigious Chancellor’s Medallion. His other books include "The University of Illinois, 1894-1904: The Shaping of the University" and "Redeem the Time: The Puritan Sabbath in Early America".