Fill up your Instapaper Queue (Links, June 23)

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After spending the past six weeks studying for and taking my qualifying exams, we’re back with our semi-regular series featuring stories that are worth your time and a spot in your reader of choice. We like Instapaper.

Wright Thompson’s article about racism in Italian soccer received a lot of widespread love, and with good reason. It’s sensational. Thompson does a fantastic job of weaving historical fact, rock-solid reporting and his personal experiences to make the story complete.

It was not as widely shared a story as Thompson’s masterpiece, but I thought Mike Finger’s investigative look into how the University of Texas is spending boatloads of money for not much production was illuminating on a lot of levels. It stands as a great piece of sports journalism, using public records and documents to tell a story. It illustrates the largesse of the UT athletic department (I was there a few months ago for a conference, and the tennis stadium was nicer than some pro facilities I’ve seen). Also, it demonstrates the winning-isn’t-everything-it’s-the-only-thing mentality of college sports in 2013.

Which leads us to … the Ed O’Bannon case agains the NCAA is reaching a critical point. If the judge in the case grants the plaintiff’s request to have this certified as a class-action lawsuit, it could be game over for the NCAA. I’m planning a piece on this case this week, but this story is a good catch-me-up.