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The Boston Globe reports on the overwhelmingly positive results of Northeastern, Boston U., and Hofstra having dropped football.

Quite a few other universities continue to “spend between $3 million and $5 million annually on the sport for equipment, scholarships, travel, coaches’ salaries, and facilities, and their teams generate little interest on campus or success on the field.” Some of these universities will certainly drop it…

It won’t happen in the south, of course, where football is a religion.

But imagine… Imagine how strange it would be if significant numbers of schools did can football. You’d have a diminishing group of big boys – Texas, Florida, that lot – begging someone to play with them…

Of course, these schools could just keep playing against each other, but fans would get bored and demand more variety. Hm…

UD predicts that eventually Alabama will pressure Nick Saban to give back 2.5 of his 4.8 million dollar yearly salary so that Alabama can create a football program at another university. Other southern universities with four million dollar coaches will do the same. In order to have someone to play against, these places will begin funding and running football programs at northern universities. Four or so times a year, an organized group of fraternities and alumni from these schools will come up here and deliver PowerPoints on how to do really sloppy drunken tailgates that the whole family can enjoy, etc.


Update: Details on the Southern Model here.

“I’ve never been to Michigan-Ohio State, but I can’t imagine it being near the experience that the entire weekend is of [University of Oklahoma]-Texas,” OU senior Matt Patten said. “The stuff that goes on down there is just ridiculous. I mean you have an enormous amount of alcohol all over the place down by the hotels where we all stay. Fights are breaking out all around you between OU fans and Texas fans…”

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9 Responses to “Thinking the Unthinkable”

  1. Shane Street Says:

    Oof, that’s a long way down your nose, ain’t it? Let’s see….the Alabama football program actually makes money, and supports all the other athletic programs on campus under its Title IX tax burden. What do you have against women’s soccer? Sexist.

    What’s funny about this is that your Swiftian proposal is almost exactly the reverse of what actually happened around the turn of the previous century. Amateur sports enthusiasts of the upper crust spread out from the Harvards, Yales, and Princetons and brought games to the hoi polloi. It’s the *Crimson* Tide for a reason.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Shane: You’re not reading my prediction correctly. I simply anticipate Alabama sharing its riches with other universities.

  3. Shane Street Says:

    Well, that certainly fits with the thinking of all of our betters recently. Sure, what the hell, we’ll spread our wealth around for ya.

    Speaking of riches, how is UD’s own Private U holding up its end of the higher ed bubble?

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    My scenario wouldn’t involve the thinking of anyone, your betters or your worses. It’s a suggestion that things could evolve to the point where Alabama would have to share the wealth in order to have enough teams to play against.

  5. Crimson05er Says:

    Heh heh. Amusing prediction, UD. I envision Southeastern Conference school “missionaries” trying to evangelize their peculiar pigskin hobby on New England liberal arts colleges that actually refined the sport a century ago.

    Alas, I fear they wouldn’t take the money from Saban’s salary. The man walks on water among the Alabama faithful. They’d slash the English or Philosophy departments, or have a fire sale on all the nineteenth century volumes in the library, to set up the fund you proposed. Sell off the medical school campus, or just convert all tuition dollars to athletic fees. Hawk the cyclotrons from Prof. Street’s own chemistry department.

    It was hell growing up in Alabama and not giving a flip one way or the other about AU or UA football. Like being an agnostic in Torquemada’s Spain.

  6. TAFKAU Says:

    As a practical matter, the real power broker in this equation is television. Even mighty Alabama bows down to their corporate masters when CBS parachutes in and insists that the Iron Bowl (Alabama v. Auburn) be played on Thanksgiving Friday even though most of the students are out of town. The various networks rake in millions televising the sport, and they’ll do what they have to do to make sure it doesn’t die.

    Aside from the power conferences, bigtime college football could probably get by with about 20 additional patsies (the San Jose States and Eastern Michigans) to provide token warm-up competition early in the season. In short, a significant number of programs could die without doing any damage to the networks’ profit model. And if a crisis ever did emerge, I think it’s a reasonably safe bet that the conferences and their network overlords would devise a revenue sharing plan to keep the necessary 20 or so cannon fodder teams in cleats.

    I think Nick Saban can probably rest easy. He need not fear a return to his salad days just yet. (Speaking of salad days, have you ever noticed how almost everyone–journalists included–misuses the phrase as though it refers to times of greatest success rather than to the struggling, early part of one’s career?)

  7. Shane Street Says:

    Crimson05er: Selling off our microwave ovens would not make us enough dough to cover even an adjunct for the English Department. Those are the only things remotely resembling cyclotrons a chemistry department might have. We’ll take a synchrotron if you happen to have a spare one laying about, but they’re kinda big.

  8. Bill Gleason Says:


    The so-called patsies often play respectable football and when they step up in weight class sometimes surprise the professional college teams. I’m thinking of the Northern Illinois Huskies and the South Dakota Coyotes this year.

    The Harvards, Yales, Cornells, etc. still play respectable football and it is not unusual to see some of their products in the NFL.

    And those pointy headed intellectuals from Northwestern did beat our Golden Gophers this weekend.. by one point.

    And the sexist UD is called out. Her non-football playing institution is criticized for? Being expensive?

    Professor Street’s little dig about synchrotrons, microwave ovens, and adjunct English professors did make me laugh, though.

  9. Crimson05er Says:

    Betraying my humanities background. It’s been a long time since I was in a lab.

    (grins) I’ll keep an eye out for any spare synchrotrons I run across, Doc Smith. Heh. Funny stuff.

    Could probably rummage up some old Erlenmeyer flasks, though. You’d be amazed at the things history departments squirrel away when we’re mistakenly delivered boxes that are supposed to go to other university divisions.

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