SPORTS & RECREATION

The City Game: Triumph, Scandal, and a Legendary Basketball Team

Ballantine. Nov. 2019. 448p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781101882832. $29; ebk. ISBN 9781101882849. SPORTS
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Goodman (Eighty Days) chronicles the point shaving scandal that rocked basketball college teams during the 1951 season, focusing on the players of the City College of New York. Composed mainly of African Americans and Jewish Americans from working-class backgrounds, City College was the first and only team to win the NIT and NCAA national championship in the same season, led by Hall of Fame coach Nat Holman. Goodman follows the lives and friendship of players Ed Warner, Eddie Roman, and Floyd Layne. At the time, gambling was a major problem in New York City and especially at Madison Square Garden, where college basketball was more popular than professional. Corruption was rampant, with politicians and police receiving payments from gamblers. As the district attorney investigated, it was revealed that City College players received payments from gamblers to go under the point spread for two seasons. The players are portrayed as victims of systematic abuse, in which everyone earns monetary rewards, including coaches, colleges, and promoters, off of the unpaid work of student athletes.
VERDICT Recommended for anyone interested in the history of post–World War II basketball; relevant to issues within amateur athletics today.

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