The creation and growth of the NCAA will be the subject of a limited series being developed for Sony Television by the creators of Karate Kid-spinoff Cobra Kai, according to Deadline.
Based on Walter Byers’ 1995 book Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Exploiting College Athletes, the series will chronicle Byers’ nearly 40-year career as executive director of the NCAA. During his tenure, the NCAA evolved from a non-profit organization to a multi-million dollar money machine for college athletics.
Byers’ initial role as NCAA director was to keep college sports clean, rooting out cheating and corruption. He also played a significant part into turning college athletics into a lucrative business at the expense of the amateur athletes playing high-profile sports like football and basketball.
Though Byers enforced regulations against schools like the University of Kentucky and Southern Methodist University during his time leading the NCAA, the unethical practices he attempted to keep out of college sports were much larger than simple rules violations and too overwhelming to stave off. Eventually, he also came to see how athletes were exploited by the business enterprise he helped establish.
With Joe Piarulli and Luan Thomas writing and executive producing the TV series, the question is whether or not Unsportsmanlike Conduct will have the same sort of comedic elements as Cobra Kai. But those who have watched the series know that it incorporates dramatic elements in its storytelling as well.
But as Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva and Denise Petski explain, the tone of the series will be satirical, as seen in movies like The Big Short and The Wolf of Wall Street.
Both of those films chronicled real-life events that were either difficult to explain or too outlandish to believe, but used humor and absurdity to make the subjects more appealing for audiences. The events were outrageous and the people involved unlikable, yet the stories were told in memorably entertaining fashion.