A measure of how splendid a job Golebock did in Personal Fouls is the intense hatred he stirred up among both NCSU fans and those who support similar programs at a hundred Div I institutions across the country.
The lies and misrepresentations in other reviews on this board are evidence of the lengths these people will go to discredit a book that put them in a state of blind terror simply by telling the truth. Readers who want to know the whole story should get the Signet paperback edition, which has a 50 page afterword detailing how the Wolfpack Club and NCSU came down on Simon & Schuster, the publishers who originally contracted to do the book, with threats of multi-million dollar lawsuits (to be undertaken at NC taxpayer expense), and threats from the NC State Attorney General's office.
None of it worked. When Carol & Graf published the hardback, the threats and bluster melted away like a snowball under an August sun -- Div I sports boosters are bullies, and bullies are almost always cowards -- Valvano was investigated and fired, Chancellor Poulton resigned, and new revelations (about point shaving, for instance), which were NOT covered in Golenbock's book, surfaced almost weekly. What came to light was one of the filthiest programs in the history Div I sports,and the dishonesty and cynicism of a sociopath who used his "charm" to inveigle subliterate basketball players into providing him with a multi-million dollar lifestyle.
Read Personal Fouls. If you do it with an open mind, you'll never watch the "March Madness" TV spectacle with the same naivete again.
To the NCSU supporters and Valvano apologists who try to shout you down, here's a simple answer. Valvano's biggest potential star was a player named Chris Washburn. When Washburn was tried in court for having stolen a stereo system, his SAT scores came out in the trial process. His combined SAT: 470. (For those who don't understand the SAT scoring system, this equals functional illiteracy -- inability to read the newspaper or follow the directions on a can of soup.) But Washburn was kept academically eligible during the entire period up to his indictment for burglary and larceny.
And so were any number of players who operated at the same academic and intellectual level. If some NCSU booster tells you that the whole Valvano episode was "just about a couple of sneakers," or that NCSU was vindicated because Simon & Schuster caved under the threat of deeply dishonest legal intimidation, just ask a simple question: "What was Chris Washburn's SAT score?" Follow it with another: "Is NCSU a place where 'students' with 470 SATs can pass their classes?"
If he says it is, your adversary will just have admitted that NCSU is a place where education is carried out at a 3rd-grade level. Not a proud boast even for a pretty low-level state institution. If he says it isn't, he's just admitted that Valvano and his willing accomplice B.R. Poulton were sleazy operators who remained unrepentant about the damage they had done to a public university. When you've got your adversary in this cleft-stick, hand him a copy of Personal Fouls and tell him to re-read it with a mind less clouded by blind and stupid partisanship. Your good deed for that day will have been done.