“Buying In: Big-Time Women's College Basketball and the Future of College Sports by Aaron L. Miller is the stellar work of a meticulous scholar/researcher and compelling story teller. Miller traces the separate and diametrically opposed histories of men’s and women’s intercollegiate sport through their intersectional clash in 1975 when Congress adopted Title IX’s athletics regulations mandating a future reflecting gender equality in educational sport. Miller chronicles the next 46 years of painstaking progress through up close and personal vignettes told through the voices and team experiences of an iconic Stanford University women’s basketball coach and her athletes. These women confront discrimination and explode myths about the skill, toughness and tenacity of female athletes and the economic viability of women’s sports. While gender equality has still not been realized and academic integrity seriously damaged by the corrosive aspects of commercialized sport programs, Miller closes with an insightful analysis of what must be fixed, what Stanford has done right, and why the future should be hopeful.”— Donna A. Lopiano, President, Sports Management Resources, former CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation and former Director of Women’s Athletics, University of Texas at Austin
“Without being an apologist, Aaron Miller has written a celebration of college sports as part of higher education. Using close observation of a big-time women’s basketball program, he applies interdisciplinary insights, as well as a full historical perspective to his analysis of the issues that pertain to all of intercollegiate athletics today. This is a timely book.”— Howard P. Chudacoff, Brown University
"Who benefits and in what ways from intercollegiate sport? How can we support a more equitable distribution of the benefits? How can we as fans, coaches, policy makers, and academics create a more educationally empowering experience for athletes? These are some of the questions Miller poses in Buying In. He draws on a year of observing Stanford University Women’s basketball to provide key insights into the constraints and opportunities to address these important questions. Miller situates this contemporary example within the broader historical context of U.S. intercollegiate sport. He thoroughly describes the structural inequalities that have organized sport, and assesses how racism, classism, and sexism are currently expressed. He then uses Stanford’s Women’s Basketball program to illustrate some of the ways in which people can create educationally robust sport programs.
At the center of Miller’s argument, is the critique of taking a binary position on college sport: assuming that it is either inherently good or that it is fundamentally flawed. Miller is concerned that this binary perspective encourages us to either opt out of social action or to opt out of the joy that sport can bring. Instead, he poses that our communities are simultaneously riddled with problems and benefits; that we live with this complexity and have a role to play in making our communities better. Ultimately, he argues that we have agency to make college sport more fair and more educationally sound.
Well-written and thoroughly researched, Buying In makes an important contribution to the broader conversation about the value of sport in education and strategies to create positive change."— Becky Beal, California State University, East Bay