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The Changing Culture Of College Sports

Illinois head coach Tim Beckman shouts at the referees during a game against Minnesota at Memorial Stadium.

Illinois head coach Tim Beckman shouts at the referees during a game against Minnesota. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)

The latest in a growing series of crises to affect University of Illinois athletics raises any number of questions about the culture of competitive college sports. 

Football coach Tim Beckman is out, fired on Friday after preliminary results of an external investigation apparently showed that he pressured players to ignore injuries and tried to influence medical decisions. He denies those claims.

A women's basketball coach left the school in May after a lawsuit by former players accused staff of verbal and emotional abuse, including racist comments.

Another lawsuit alleges the women's soccer team mishandled a former players' concussions.

When many of these allegations first became public, Murray Sperber told us that he sees a shift happening in big time college sports. That conversation is just as relevant today as it was in May.

Sperber teaches in the Cultural Studies of Sport in Education program at U-C Berkley. In this encore report based on that previous interview, Sperber tells Illinois Public Media's Scott Cameron that while we don't have all the specifics in these cases, going public with complaints of mistreatment is often a first step toward changing the culture of college sports.

Murray Sperber's most recent book is titled, Beer & Circus: How Big-Time College Sports is Crippling Undergraduate Education.