Get ready for college football with a trio of books to read before the season kicks off in September.
▪ Billion-Dollar Ball: A Journey Through the Big-Money Culture of College Football by Gilbert M. Gaul (Viking, $27.95) — The two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist turns his investigative eye on the big-time business of college football, where he says elite schools are monetizing the sport for record profits. Texas schools and the Big 12 are well-represented throughout, and former Notre Dame and Kansas coach Charlie Weis is singled out for being paid more than $23 million by the two schools not to coach. Available Tuesday.
▪ Saban: The Making of a Coach by Monte Burke (Simon & Schuster, $27) — The author has written about college football before in 2012’s 4th and Goal. But his 2008 cover story for Forbes on the love-him-or-loathe-him Alabama coach aroused his interest in Nick Saban, leading to this definitive biography about one of the country’s highest-paid employees at a public university — and highest-paid college football coach. Among the revelations: Saban seriously considered taking the Texas job, according to UT regents. Available now.
▪ Freddie Steinmark: Faith, Family, Football by Bower Yousse and Thomas J. Cryan (University of Texas Press, $24.95) — The Texas Longhorn safety’s inspirational story about his brief life and battle with cancer is being retold in this biography by the co-authors, who had unrestricted access to the family and its archives, including photos. (Yousse was a friend and teammate, and Cryan is a family associate.) Available Sept. 1 before the Oct. 9 release of My All American, filmed in Texas.
— Celeste Williams