Even if you’re a sports fan, it’s been hard to keep track of all the steroid scandals in sports in recent years. From Alex Rodriguez to countless Olympians, the headlines and teary apologies — and the subsequent morality play over the meaning of tainted records — can be overwhelming.

  Endzone tells the story of how college football's most successful, richest and respected program almost lost all three in less than a decade - and entirely of its own doing. It is a story of hubris, greed, and betrayal - a tale more suited to Wall Street than the world's top public university.

Author John U. Bacon takes you inside the offices, the board rooms and the locker rooms of the University of Michigan to see what happened, and why - with countless eye-opening, head-shaking scenes of conflict and conquest.

  Recently the Washington Redskins have been synonymous with controversy but in the not-too-distant past, D.C.'s beloved team was considered a model franchise that put together one of the most unique and colorful dynasties in NFL history under the leadership of Coach Joe Gibbs.

Based on more than 90 original interviews with key sources, the new book Hail to the Redskins by sportswriter Adam Lazarus, gives readers access to the players and coaches who championed the extraordinary era from 1981 to 1992, charting the teams rise from mediocrity to its stretch of three Super Bowl titles in 10 years.

Listener Essay - When No Girls Were Allowed

Sep 10, 2015

  Jacqueline Sheehan is a New York Times bestselling author from Western Massachusetts. Her new novel, The Center of the World, will be published in January 2016.

  In his new book Billion-Dollar Ball: A Journey Through the Big-Money Culture of College Football, journalist Gilbert Gaul examines how – he says - college football has come to dominate some of our best, most prestigious universities—reframing campus values, distorting academic missions, and transforming athletic departments into astonishingly rich entertainment factories, even as many university presidents look the other way.

Gaul argues these abuses are mere symbols of something much larger and problematic: the business model that schools have created using football to brand their schools, monetizing every aspect of the game.

Gilbert Gaul twice won the Pulitzer Prize and has been shortlisted for the Pulitzer four other times. For more than thirty-five years, he worked as an investigative journalist for The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer and other newspapers.

It has been quite a summer in sports. New York Jets QB Geno Smith had his jaw broken this week by a the locker room.  As the NFL gets ready to start exhibition season, Tom Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met in a court room over "Deflate-Gage."   The Red Sox are enduring a lousy season. The Yankees just lost first place to the Toronto Blue Jays.  And then there's the first place New York Mets. There is a great deal to talk about!  Good thing we'll be joined by Marist College's Keith Strudler and Daily Gazette Sports Editor, Mark McGuire. 

Keith Strudler: Fighter J-E-T-S

Aug 12, 2015

Jets fans, all five of you, here’s the good news. Gino Smith will not throw an interception for the next six to 10 weeks. That’s the good news. The bad news, and there’s plenty, is that the Jets starting quarterback won’t throw anything for six to 10 weeks, at least not wearing pads and a helmet. That’s because Smith broke his jaw this week in a locker room altercation with now former teammate IK Enemkpali. According to reports, Smith owed Enemkpali $600 for a plane ticket he never used, and Enemkpali let him know by way of a fist to the jaw. The result is one QB on injured reserve, one backup linebacker on waivers, and enough material to keep late night talk shows in business for a generation.

  So much about baseball is known: the distance between the bases (90 feet), the batting average of a good hitter (.300) and the velocity of a hard fastball (95 mph). Barry Svrluga’s new book, The Grind, shows us what we may not know. No sport is as unrelenting as Major League Baseball; enduring the 162 games squeezed into 185 days (plus spring training and postseason.)

In 2004, Svrluga was assigned to cover the return of baseball to Washington D.C. The nation’s capital had gone without a major league team since 1971. In 2014, Svrluga wrote a series for the Post about the personal toll that baseball takes, with each installment profiling a different character from the franchise.

The Grind grew directly from that series, including the original six longform pieces plus updates and additional chapters.

Keith Strudler: Russell Wilson And God

Jul 8, 2015

Perhaps Huey Lewis was right. Maybe it is hip to be square.

It’s probably unfair to deem Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson as square, not with one Super Bowl ring and another nearly so at the age of 26, not with a huge new contract coming his way in the next year or so, not as the young marketable face of the NFL as older generations of quarterbacks, like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, enter their twilight. That’s not square, for sure.

The Golden State Warriors took the NBA Championship, and the St. Louis Cardinals are accused of hacking the Houston Astros. Director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication and WAMC sports commentator Keith Strudler is here, along with Times Union sports editor Pete Iorizzo.