IU National Sports Journalism Center director writes book on Rose Bowl history

  • Sept. 27, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS - Malcolm Moran has written the book on the Rose Bowl, literally.

Moran, director of the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, was commissioned by the Tournament of Roses to write a history of the Rose Bowl. The book, “Rose Bowl: History of the Granddaddy of Them All,” was published in partnership with Whitman Publishing House and the Vault Series.

The 100th Rose Bowl will be played Jan. 1, 2014. The annual football contest is the oldest intercollegiate post-season bowl game between two major conferences in the United States.

In addition to recounting its history through text and vintage photographs, the coffee table-style book takes readers on a trip back in time with replicas of memorabilia such as an 1890 schedule of events, a 1927 game program, a 1941 ticket, a 1959 press pass, a 1987 sticker and other collectibles that are tucked into pockets within the volume. Readers can also use smartphones to scan QR codes to watch a film clip from the 1898 Rose Parade and footage from two dozen other games.

Having covered the Rose Bowl nine times as a reporter for The New York Times and USA Today, Moran said he began the task of writing 10, 2,500-word chapters thinking that he had a pretty thorough knowledge of the event.

“I quickly discovered how much I didn’t know, especially about the attitude of the Big Ten toward the bowl game years ago,” Moran said. “The Big Ten was very slow to commit teams on an annual basis, and that didn’t happen until after World War II.”

A number of Big Ten administrations felt that playing in the Rose Bowl sent the wrong message, one that over-emphasized athletics, Moran said. Their view was that time spent having students prepare for an extra game adversely effected the student-athletes’ performance on their final exams in December.

“It was a hot-button issue on a number of campuses,” Moran said. “When the Big Ten finally committed to playing in the Rose Bowl, the conference developed rules that prohibited teams going in consecutive years. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that consecutive appearances were allowed on a regular basis.”

A number of outstanding Big Ten champions did not play in the Rose Bowl because they had played the year before, Moran said. In one case, the faculty at Ohio State University rejected an opportunity for the Buckeyes to play, even though the Buckeyes were eligible.

“That was not well received by students or the community, but that was the political reality of the time,” he said.

Further, the Rose Bowl was viewed like a curtain call, an added chance to see your team play in a warm-weather place, Moran added.

“It was totally separate from any discussion of who was the best team,” he said.

Rose Bowl book

Rose Bowl book

Print Quality Photo

Richard Schneider