An American Writer Chronicles Perhaps the Most Impressive Moment in the History of the University of Alabama.

It was perhaps inevitable, in the intellectual life of our nation, that when one university rose above all others to express the essence of higher learning for so many of our citizens, it would happen on a basketball court among the scholar/athletes of the University of Alabama.

Their triumph was so intense that my own paltry rhetoric fails me. I will defer to one of countless chroniclers who, this morning, are celebrating this great academic institution.


… In a match-up that was primarily seen on Facebook live, the 25th ranked Alabama basketball team played in one of the most incredible sporting events I’ve ever watched against the 14th ranked Minnesota Gophers… [After a huge on-court brawl,] the entire bench got ejected from the game, leaving Alabama with five eligible players for the rest of the game… That’s when the game truly started getting incredible.

A couple minutes later, [an Alabama player] picked up his fifth foul, leaving Alabama with only four eligible players for the final 11 minutes of the game. Less than a minute later, freshman John Petty landed awkwardly and needed assistance getting to the bench with an ankle injury. Alabama was down to THREE eligible players [who] fought back valiantly to make this a truly incredible game.

… I’m usually not glued to my screen during an early season college basketball match-up but this was a sporting event that I’ll never forget. Anyone who wasn’t lucky enough to watch this live should definitely check out the highlights.

The only thing UD can think of that would make this set of events more valiant and incredible would be if someone in the arena – or, hell, on the team – had a gun, and there had been an incredible and valiant massacre. It will happen. But we will have to wait. Meanwhile, anyone who has been watching higher education in America knows that the University of Alabama, in all its splendor, would be the place where this incredible breakthrough in the life of the mind would occur.


UD thanks dmf.


And don’t forget! It’s football season!


Plus: If you want to keep up with the global bloodbath, a suggestion: Type FOOTBALL BRAWL into Google News.

If you’re interested in how the organizations that run all of these teams are completely corrupt, type FIFA corruption for international; for national, read University Diaries.

“We think it’s great when you can get some perks for the hard work you put into achieving success. So when you apply to The University of Alabama School of Law, we will give you a $30 Amazon gift card and waive your application fee.”

UD‘s friend Courtney, applying to law school, received this.

Waiving application fees is now apparently pretty standard; the Amazon gift card is, I think, something new.


Update: Also on offer: Starbucks cards and hundreds of dollars worth of travel expenses. (See this post’s comment thread.)

One sentence that sums up the spirit of inquiry at the University of Alabama.

What does Tim Williams’ arrest on a misdemeanor gun charge in Tuscaloosa early Thursday morning mean for Alabama at the outside linebacker position?

At the University of Alabama, “Athletics is not involved in the admissions process.”

Which, strictly speaking, I guess is true. What they seem to be doing there – UD‘s just speculating – what they seem to be doing at the University of Alabama for special categories of student – is reviewing footage of their woman-beating…

Maybe, say, they’re comparing the recently admitted Jonathan Taylor’s woman-beating to that of Ray Rice… How does Taylor stand up next to a more seasoned pro?

I’m figuring that only when they’ve completed a comparative review of domestic violence footage (not of football plays, because that would involve athletics in the admissions process) does the admissions committee get down to the hard work of determining which woman-beater most fully meets the academic standards of the University of Alabama.

These proceedings are of course hush-hush. So, as I say, this is pure guesswork.


There are a few naysayers:

I don’t think handing out athletic scholarships to two-time offenders who have felony assault charges pending qualifies as just giving a kid a second chance.

“[The University of Alabama Birmingham] looked upon the future of NCAA football and saw what it would require to continue to compete. It would require spending the way that those big schools do. Other so-called ‘mid-major’ schools have looked upon the same landscape and pronounced it verily terrifying. UAB saw that, and begged off. No one has followed them yet. But some will. And the sport will never be the same.”

I thought university football was already “truly professionalized,” but according to this, there’s much more to come.

UD has predicted that most physical campus life will disappear as everyone goes online; but she has also – naively – said that the only place on campus where students will continue to congregate in real time will be the football stadium. Wrong.

Even though college football is as steeped in its history and culture as any sport in the country, with the amount of money flying around the sport, it’s just more efficient to play games in these huge stadiums, sold to the highest bidder. The strange thing is that—national title games aside—these stadiums are often empty, particularly for conference championship games. (None of the major conference championships—the Pac-12, Big Ten, or SEC—is expected to sell out their games at neutral sites this weekend.) That doesn’t really matter for the people selling these games: Television stations, particularly ESPN, who just need the programming. (The fans in attendance are essentially just atmosphere—extras.) This is the ongoing trend, too: Fewer and fewer students are even showing up to campus games anymore. In the future college football world, you won’t even need them: These games might as well be played on sound stages.

I mean, yes, UD has been blogging for some time about disappearing students; she just thought that … you know… while they’d be totally gone from physical classrooms, there’d still be “the few, the proud” in the stadiums. (Thanks, Andre, for that link.) Apparently not.

(Silver lining: They’ll still show up for the tailgate and the riot.)

That being the case, UD will make another prediction.

It’s very embarrassing to the schools, these empty televised stadiums. (“[On] average, only 8 percent of U.A.B.’s 18,600 students attended home games this year.”) Soon many universities will revamp their entire admissions systems. They will seek above all in a student the willingness and ability to sit – not too drunk; reasonably excited – in a stadium for the entire duration of a football game. Extras Scholarships will go out to students who can document (via admissions portfolio videos of their high school game attendance) their capacity to simulate being a fan of the university’s football team.

Required reading for the credit-bearing freshman-fan training course will be DeLillo’s White Noise, and in particular the simulacral German nuns scene:

“Our pretense is a dedication. Someone must appear to believe. Our lives are no less serious than if we professed real faith, real belief. As belief shrinks from the world, it is more necessary than ever that someone believe. Wild-eyed men in caves. Nuns in black. Monks who do not speak. We are left to believe. Fools, children. Those who have abandoned belief must still believe in us. They are sure they are right not to believe but they know belief must not fade completely. Hell is when no one believes. There must always be believers. Fools, idiots, those who hear voices, those who speak in tongues. We are your lunatics. We surrender our lives to make your nonbelief possible. You are sure that you are right but you don’t want everyone to think as you do. There is no truth without fools. We are your fools, your madwomen, rising at dawn to pray, lighting candles, asking statues for good health, long life.”

Real fans are gone; no one cares about a fake tv spectacle. But a large group of people must sit in the stands looking like students who give a shit. Someone must appear to care.

[C]ollege football has been accused of being an unpaid farm system for the NFL. This winnowing of the ranks [of universities with football teams], and the increased ability of Power Five schools to compensate players, could make it that much closer to a formality. If we accept—as the Northwestern [University] union lawsuit claims—that these players are more “athletes” than “students” (and thus more employees than subjects) then they’re essentially professional leagues already. You can see this eventually—maybe not as early 2025, but someday—becoming standard operating procedure, and having the Dallas Cowboys go ahead and make Baylor or Texas A&M their “farm” team.

The effect on academics? Well, first of all there will be a synergy with the movement of the university’s teaching business to online. There won’t be any angst about academic integrity, because everything will be invisible. Nothing to see here! And the new honesty about the tv-run, paid-player, farm-team, nature of the university, coupled with the obsolescence of the NCAA itself (“one of the last connections any of these athletic departments have to ‘academics’ at all”) will truly clear the way for more and more American universities to drop the whole “university” pretense and get down to business.

“A recent study by Business of College Sports suggests that the University of Alabama spent more on the salary of head football coach Nick Saban than on every aspect of student-athlete aid, including scholarships, back in 2013.”


“[S]hould [football coach Nick Saban] stay [at the University of Alabama] for the duration of [his] contract, he will have pocketed a total of $44,983,333.86 from the good citizens of the nation’s ninth poorest state, 16.1 percent of whom are living below the poverty line.”

Meanwhile Gov. Robert Bentley announced that general funding to the Department of Public Safety and other state agencies would be cut by 10 percent because of revenue shortages. Public Safety director Hugh McCall said he hopes to avoid layoffs of state troopers and other employees.

They don’t need public safety. They’re safe in The Divine Huddle.

Salaries, University of Alabama

[University of Alabama football coach Nick] Saban’s deal now runs through Jan. 31, 2020, and his total financial package will average out to $5.62 million per year. He’ll earn $5.32 million in 2012, and with raises built into the deal, would go up to $5.97 million in the final year of his contract in 2019…

Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart went from $850,000 to $950,000. Also, first-year offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will earn $590,000. Both Smart and Nussmeier have three-year deals.

Outside linebackers coach Lance Thompson, back for his second stint at Alabama after coaching at Tennessee the last three years, received a two-year deal and will make $375,000.

Of the Crimson Tide’s 10 assistants, counting strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Cochran, seven make at least $310,000 annually.

The University of Alabama deals with…

… the aftermath of massive tornadoes through Tuscaloosa.

Update, University of Alabama Huntsville

Debra Moriarity, the courageous University of Alabama Huntsville professor who confronted Amy Bishop as she tried to kill everyone in the room, will replace the murdered chair of the biology department.

More On Amy Bishop and the University of Alabama Huntsville

I’ve already written a long post tracking the Amy Bishop story. As more details emerge, I’ll post them. Here are a couple of things worth noting.

The first isn’t about her, but about her university. Just last year, another UAH professor was convicted of murdering his wife.

As to Bishop: The Boston Globe reports:

The University of Alabama biology professor accused of slaying three of her colleagues fatally shot her brother in an apparent accident in Massachusetts more than two decades ago, a local police chief said.

Braintree Police Chief Paul Frazier confirmed the 1986 shooting in his town and slated a news conference this afternoon to discuss the incident.

She was twenty, he eighteen. While trying to “unload a round from the chamber of a 12-gauge shotgun,” she shot her brother in the abdomen.

The Globe article comes close to suggesting it might not have been accidental.


As details of Bishop’s earlier killing emerge, things get a bit stomach-churning:

The Braintree police chief said today the woman accused of gunning down three in an Alabama shooting rampage shot and killed her brother during an argument in 1986 – but no police report exists and she was never charged.

Chief Paul Frazier said Amy Bishop shot her brother in the chest, fled the house, pointed the shotgun at another car, then fled into woods.

Police found her and arrested her, but during the booking process the former police chief called and interceded, Frazier said. No investigation took place after that and the incident report was lost or discarded.

“This would never happen in this day and age,” Frazier said.

Frazier has forwarded the case to the Norfolk DA’s office for investigation…


Another account:

She fired at least three shots, hitting her brother once and hitting her bedroom wall, before police took her into custody at gunpoint, he said.

Before Bishop could be booked, the police chief back then told officers to release her to her mother, Frazier said.

University of Alabama Hemorrhaging Research Fraud

Two cases this year, both stunners.

The University of Ala­bama at Birmingham has asked that nine research papers by former UAB sci­entist H.M. Krishna Murthy be retracted because his ex­perimental findings appear to be false or fabricated.

One has already been re­tracted by the prestigious Journal of Biological Chem­­istry.

… UAB launched a probe of Murthy’s research in Janu­ary 2007 after the interna­tional scientific community began questioning the val­idity of molecular struc­tures he had published in respected scientific jour­nals such as Nature and the Journal of Molecular Bi­ology. A committee of ex­perts who had no conflicts of interest examined all the data and did a re-analysis of each molecular structure that was alleged to have been fabricated.

UAB found a preponder­ance of evidence that 11 protein structures “were more likely than not falsi­fied and/or fabricated…

… This is the second case of research misconduct at UAB reported this year. In July, two UAB scientists, Dr. Juan R. Contreras and Judith M. Thomas were barred by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity from re­ceiving grants and con­tracts after falsifying ani­mal study results. They no longer work at UAB.

… Murthy’s JBC work involved discovery of the molecular structure of a se­rine protease enzyme for the virus that causes the Dengue and Dengue hem­orrhagic fevers. The work was important — Dengue fever strikes about 100 mil­lion people each year and kills thousands…

‘After years of bond-financed stadium expansions, [the University of] Alabama will replace some student seating with a massive video board as part of a 2020 capital project.’

They really don’t get it, do they? Here’s an article about how people are abandoning football games in droves – even in Alabama (enjoy the photo of a recent game) – and Alabama thinks the solution is to take out seats and replace them with a massive screen incessantly screaming advertising in the faces of people there to watch football. Another important part of the solution is to sell booze so that already pretty obnoxious people in the stands will become much more so, driving the few families that still attend games way far away from the stadium.

When your school can’t think of anything else to do with money, and when it’s run by dumb guys, you get this result:

Moody’s rated the University of Arkansas’ athletic revenue bonds for stadium expansion Aa2 with a stable outlook in 2016, citing 200% revenue coverage of the debt service. Since then, Razorbacks football attendance has slumped. The university saw a dramatic drop in attendance in 2018, a 2-10 season that ranks competitively as the worst in the team’s history.

“Something has changed,” said … an Arkansas native. “In a state like Arkansas where there is no professional team, the Razorbacks are the major attraction. To see attendance down like that is tough. It could squeeze them a little bit in a very competitive conference.”

… The university’s Athletics Department in 2016 issued $25 million of tax-exempt and $90 million of taxable bonds to expand Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium by more than 4,000 seats to a capacity of 76,212. The once-rabid Razorbacks fans never came close to filling the stadium in six home games in 2018, hitting a maximum of 50,988 for the team’s loss to the University of North Texas.

What do you have to do to get kicked off the board of trustees at Alabama State University?

More than this.

More on ASU.

‘Was Nick Saban really that much better? Was he worth nearly $6 million more now than he was in 2000; fifty‑four times more than what Robert Bentley, the Alabama governor, was paid; twelve times more than the university’s president, who is responsible for a budget seven times the size of the football budget? I posed the question to Bill Battle, the athletic director at Alabama, who pointed to Saban’s larger effect on the university as a whole. “Nick’s impact on this campus and this program is everywhere,” Battle said. “He has just changed the…

entire culture here.”‘

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