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Akron and the Plight of the Mid-Major Programs

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On Terry Bowden's desk, lost amid two unopened bottles of Diet Mountain Dew, a jar of antacids, and a precarious stack of legal pads, is a book called The Greatest Salesman in the World. I have no idea if Bowden has read it multiple times or if someone sent it to him on a lark; at one point, I begin to broach the subject, but Bowden has a genial way of filibustering that makes it easy to lose the thread of the conversation. Given the task he faces, the book's presence is so overt that it's probably better left unaddressed.

It is April in Akron, Ohio, which means, as it does at college campuses across America, that the peculiar ritual of spring football is nearing its culmination. As far as I can tell, there is no real purpose for...

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