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Champion releases first special issue

Where does Division I men’s college basketball go from here?

That question was at the epicenter of planning for a new issue of Champion magazine. The special basketball issue, Champion’s first devoted to a single topic, explores the key moments in basketball’s 127-year history that created what we know as today’s college game. It examines how the new youth basketball landscape will look. It asks whether the NBA’s one-and-done rule enhanced the game or hindered it.

The issue arrives 13 months after the FBI announced an investigation into college basketball recruiting, six months after the independent Commission on College Basketball released recommendations on how to right the sport, and weeks after the NCAA finalized its first commitments toward reform.

Though NCAA reform efforts implemented in recent months have focused on Division I men’s basketball, the special basketball issue also celebrates the women’s game, with insight from the new NCAA vice president of women’s basketball and a look back on moments in recent history that have catapulted women’s basketball.

Other stories celebrate basketball in film, remind us why March Madness matters and take a fun look at pep bands, the soundtrack of March. Champion also invited iconic leaders in college basketball, including national champion and Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame coaches Muffet McGraw and Lute Olson, to reflect on why they love basketball.

In this issue, Champion celebrates a sport that is magical in its simplicity, is layered in its complexity and has provided broad opportunities to hundreds of thousands of college students.

“The more you know about basketball, the more there is to know about basketball,” Tara VanDerveer, the women’s basketball coach at Stanford and a four-time national coach of the year who has twice led Stanford to national championships, told Champion. “I never feel like I’ve got it down.”

Why I Love Basketball

In this moment between reforming college basketball and figuring out what it needs next, we turned to decorated coaches, top leaders and iconic figures to ask what the game means to them.

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Culture Cleanup

A conversation with Jeremy McCool, the NCAA director of enforcement who monitors youth basketball.

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The One-and-Done Dilemma

A 13-year-old decision to keep elite prep players from entering the NBA draft is under scrutiny. What could changes to this rule mean for college basketball?

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Women’s basketball leader draws on her college experience to help today’s athletes

I grew up in Ohio, and I wanted to go away to school. I thought basketball was a good avenue for me to do that. I was recruited for three sports, but I went with basketball because of the opportunity to get a full scholarship.

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A Brief History of Men's College Basketball

From barns, peach baskets and sepia-tinged photos to 70,000-seat stadiums, plexiglass backboards and high-definition online streams, basketball has evolved apace over nearly 127 years.

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What Wins Are Worth

Surprising March Madness runs help underdogs raise their profiles — and their bottom lines.

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