Member of Congress, Basketball Player, Author
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Out of Bounds

How the American Sports Establishment is Being Driven by Greed and Hypocrisy - and What Needs to Be Done About It

Written by Tom McMillen and Paul Coggins, with an introduction by Senator Bill Bradley


Out of Bounds is a hard-hitting analysis of how the influence of money on sports is corrupting sports on all levels, especially at our institutions of higher education. The book provides a clear-eyed look at the problems with the mindset that values “sports above all,” a mindset that has led to events such as the recent scandals at the University of North Carolina and other schools. The increasing conflicts between sports and ethics, Tom argues, are undermining the basic values of our society.

Out of Bounds provides a timely first-person perspective on the forces controlling sports.

Tom’s experiences – from playing Little League baseball to competing as a college student, Olympian, and then professional basketball player – inform the book. His own history, combined with his service in Congress, give him a unique perspective on how to rein in the worst excesses of the sports world.

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A Brief Excerpt from Out of Bounds:

Every time a college accepts an athlete with a seventh-grade level of reading and comprehension, a message is hammered into the impressionable minds of scores of youngsters who are debating whether to spend an hour in the library or on the courts. The message is that the rules of academia do not apply to sports stars. Nor do the rules of admission. Nor the rules of class attendance and course requirements. Not even the rules governing test scores and grades.

Praise for Out of Bounds

An informed and evenhanded critique of the “creeping professionalism” that imperils American sport; by an activist observer with impeccable credentials. Congressman McMillen (Dem., MD) draws on his own experiences as an all-American basketball player, Rhodes Scholar, Olympian (at the 1972 Games), and 11-year journeyman in the NBA to make a persuasive case against the status quo in domestic athletics. An equal-opportunity faultfinder, he rails against zealous parents who push their kids into Little Leagues as well as against universities more concerned with gate receipts than with academic excellence. Also targeted are importunate recruiters who lure high-school talent with dreams of college glory and pro careers, and the NCAA, which, McMillen says, all too often casts a blind eye on open scandals and tolerates “shamateurism” in the interests of megabuck TV deals. The author also examines the national preoccupation with a handful of spectator sports (which levies a toll on physical-fitness programs that could benefit millions of less competitive youngsters); the general neglect of women’s sports; and the less-than-generous funding of America’s Olympic athletes. Many of McMillen’s proposals for curbing the commercially exploitative excesses of a demonstrably corrupt sports establishment are incorporated in a bill he introduced in Congress last July. Here, he suggests grass-roots reforms – from encouraging families to exercise together through integrating student-athletes into the educational as well as social milieus of their universities and creating pathways other than college for young athletes to turn pro. An insider’s stinging yet engaging indictment of the entertainment/sport complex, leavened by a sense of perspective – and optimism.
Kirkus Reviews

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Tom McMillen

Tom McMillen