Reclaiming the Game: College Sports and Educational Values. By William G. Bowen and Sarah A. Levin. Princeton University Press, 490 pp., $27.95.

I love the discipline, the focus, the grace associated with nearly all sports. I'm probably one of the few professors in a theological school or religion department who can list "sports photographer" on his résumé. My wife and I have had season tickets for every sport played at Texas Christian University during the past 18 years. I must also admit that I have benefited financially from college athletics. My daughter is on a Division I athletic scholarship, playing soccer. And, yes, we try to make all her games, even when she's on the road.

This love of sports made my heart heavy as I watched recent developments at Baylor University. As the investigation into the murder of a basketball player, allegedly by one of his teammates, unfolded, NCAA violations surfaced. Though coach Dave Bliss denied allegations, a university committee discovered that he had personally arranged for the tuition payments of two players. Bliss and the athletic director resigned. A week later tapes surfaced proving Bliss had attempted to cover up his abuses by shifting blame to the deceased player. Using players and coaches, he tried to create the impression that the player had covered his own tuition by dealing drugs. The racial implications of the white basketball coach trying to blame the dead black youth by portraying him as a high-rolling drug dealer has not been lost on local media.

The Baylor case reveals just how ugly abuses in Division I athletics can be. The scandal at this conservative Baptist university has caused people to wonder how bad the abuses at other schools might be. While violations in college athletics have increasingly come to light, most people assume we've only seen the tip of the iceberg.