Submitted on Thursday, 11/7/2019, at 9:42 PM

In a recent editorial supporting Illinois legislation that would allow intercollegiate competitors to hire agents and make money off the commercial use of their own names, images or likenesses, The Chicago Tribune’s Eric Zorn cited The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games, by Allen Guttman, Amherst’s Emily C. Jordan Folger Professor of English and American Studies, Emeritus.

In his 1992 work, Guttman noted that the idea of purely amateur sports “was an invention of the Victorian upper and middle classes … its freely acknowledged purpose was to exclude the ‘lower orders’ from the play of the leisure class … the avocation-vocation distinction seemed madly irrational to almost everyone except those whose power and privilege enabled them to define reality.”