Honor Roll Tide
Yes! Go ‘Bama! Roll Tide! Alabama is now the number one college in the country! Well, if you’re talking about football.
If you’re talking about academics or campus life, then it’s seventy-fifth, according the US News and World Report. The crown jewel of the Alabama educational system — turns out they have one — is an embarrassing bench-sitter when it comes to, y’know, the actual purpose of a university. But, wow, football. They sure got their money’s worth out of that $4.8M coach.
Maybe LSU shouldn’t have skimped on a mere $3.7M coach. Given that they’re hundred and twenty-eighth on the US News list means that their football program is ranked higher than their academics by, um… Ah. What’s the difference between 128 and two? Like, 90 or something.
The annual embarrassment of big-time college football is finally, mercifully over. Back to those communications classes, jocks!
I know this rant has been done before — will be done forever, apparently — but spiraling coach salaries, exploding TV contracts, relentless booster attention and the ever-increasing incentives to win at all costs — cheating included — just confirm that any realistic notion of “scholar-athlete” is as dead as LSU’s offense. Given: A well-rounded college experience involves athletics, especially sports. But when sports — big-time sports, hundred-million-dollar sports — overwhelms everything else on (and off) campus, the whole purpose of the institution as a school becomes laughable.
This is amateur sports, remember? All those ads during the nationally televised game sure can make it hard to concentrate.
Hundreds of millions of dollars changed hands (again), institutions of higher learning were turned into poorly-regulated professional farm systems (again) and — if they were lucky enough, and their boosters sneaky enough — the students who made it all possible were paid solely in blowjobs and free drinks. (Again.)
Given all this — plus the mercenary conference hopping that’s being driven by television contracts — why even pretend anymore? Why not just chuck the whole pretense — along with those pesky NCAA rules — and turn the big college football programs into the NFL Junior? The teams wouldn’t have to give up any of their money to the nerds, and schools could get back to focusing on something as mundane as making an education the reason that people attend a school. Oh, sure, the players would have to be paid, but I’ve got it on good authority that they didn’t focus much in math classes, so they’ll be available on the cheap. Heck, with an open market, you could probably get them for less than you’re paying them under the table and write it off.
The annual orgy of BCS championship football — of all big-time college sports — makes a mockery of the whole notion of amateurism, the purpose of universities and the idea that work should be rewarded with fair compensation. None of these observations are new, of course. And they won’t be new next year, when the situation is even worse. But, y’know: Roll Tide!
Roll right over everything.