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'Friday Night Lights' Author Buzz Bissinger On Paying NCAA Athletes

Buzz Bissinger, best-selling author of "Friday Night Lights," is in Louisville to interview fellow author Joe Nocera as part of the University of Louisville's Kentucky Author Forum.

The discussion will focus on Nocera’s new book, “Indentured.”

Bissinger spoke with WFPL’s Bill Burton about "Friday Night Lights" and some of his other work. Listen to the interview in the audio player above.

Bissinger does not shy away from expressing his opinion. It led to interesting reviews of his book, “Father’s Day,” about a cross country trip he took with his son, who had suffered brain damage at birth.

On revisiting the Permian Panthers of Odessa, 25 years after “Friday Night Lights”:

“Certainly Odessa has changed. The culture of football has changed really because they’re (the team) not nearly as successful as they were when I was down there in the late 1980s. They then were the most successful team in Texas state history. It was a given they would make the playoffs, almost a given they would at least get to the semifinals. And, you know, winning breeds fanaticism. So, it's different, but you can still feel it in the blood.”

On the reception of his book, “Father’s Day”:

“I wanted to be honest about what it really is like for a parent to have a child who’s different. To have a child who’s not going to go to college, to have a child who’s not going to get married – there’s a lot of pain and there’s also a lot of anger. There’s a lot of resentment and the book is about coming to terms with it.”

On the relationship of college athletes to the NCAA:

“They’re no different from pros, look at the money. They generate billions of dollars, millions of dollars. We may hate Johnny Manziel, but it was proven – Johnny Manziel generated $37 million for Texas A&M and he’s not getting a dime. The NCAA has all these arcane ridiculous rules, they penalize players for nothing, and I think these kids deserve a share.”

Buzz Bissinger will interview fellow author Joe Nocera at the University of Louisville's Kentucky Author Forum at the Kentucky Center tonight at 6 p.m. For more details, click here

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for LPM. Email Bill at bburton@lpm.org.

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