Posts Tagged ‘Crimson Tide’

Yes, College Athletes Should be Paid

September 9, 2013

I’ve been saying it for years.  Now,  Time writer Sean Gregory is saying it to  millions.  I guess the magazine still has a circulation of millions.  It’s just not  fair to pay coaches millions and the players, who take the physical risks, nothing.

Alabama’s Sabin  gets $5.3 million a year.  Just about any  Alabama fan will quickly tell you he is worth it.  That championship team pulled in almost $82 million last year.  Some of that money goes to support sports programs that make nothing. O.K., let’s say he is worth it.  However, those fans didn’t go to see him play. They went to see college kids play.  He didn’t take any physical risks out on that football field.  But, he made a lot of money,  and they made nothing in salary. College athletes at the big schools are getting scholarships, which some college presidents say could come  to  $100 thousand in four years.  That’s $25 thousand a year. Gregory says, according to  the revenue they generate, the players should be getting at least $225,047 a year. And, the stars should get more than that. He’s right.  

There are some really prestigious universities that don’t have athletic scholarships. You know, Ivy League schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.  But, then, football is not their thing, even though college football started at Yale. They still have teams, but football doesn’t pull in millions there, and coaches salaries are quite modest. They don’t need football money.  Harvard, for instance, has a $30 billion endowment. Very valuable degrees are what  they provide.  


Crazy Higher Education Values

October 15, 2012

It’s Monday and that means I need to post something to  live up to my promise to try to post something every Monday.  The thing that sticks most in my mind right now, because of a story in the Sunday Ledger-Enquirer, is the incredible fact that higher education in a lot of states, especially Georgia and Alabama, place much higher monetary value on football coaches than classroom teachers and even college presidents.

The highest paid coach in America, Nick Saban, who pulls down more than $5.3 million a year makes about 40 times more than the average full-time professor and about 70 times more than an associate professor at the University of Alabama.  He makes about ten times more than the college president. This is common with SEC teams, though maybe not as extreme as the Alabama example. While teacher salaries have been flat for the last few years, coaches have gotten huge raises. INSANE!

The most famous coach in Alabama’s history, Bear Bryant, insisted one year that he make one dollar less than the college president.  Oh, how times have changed.

Which is more valuable a degree from Harvard where football is an afterthought, or Alabama, where it is king?

Why was the 2010 BCS National Championship the Most Watched TV Show in a Year?

January 9, 2010


Not only Alabama won big Thursday night, but so did ABC.  According to By the Numbers,  the 2010 Citi BCS National Championship Bowl not only got more viewers than all the other major networks combined during the same time period,  it won the largest TV audience in a year’s time.  By the Numbers says  30,800,000 people watched.

Why? Well, it had almost everything: violence, action, combat, conflict, tragedy, joy, comedy, pathos, music, and a tremendous amount of suspense.  What it didn’t have was romantic sex. 

Maybe violence is a greater attraction than sex now.  The last few times I have been in a movie theater the endless previews of coming attractions showed one violent movie trailer after another, every one of them with that resounding, too-loud, electronic crashing sound and frantic music that accents every violent action.  I thought they really went too far when they ran that effect with a guy putting on his hat.  Ever hear of a hat making that kind of sound when you put it on?


January 8, 2010



(Gotta hand it to Texas, though, for putting up a good fight after losing its star quarterback to a shoulder injury. The team’s 18-year-old freshman quarterback did a remarkable job, but Alabama  just was not beatable.)

(What’s more, ABC showed both the Alabama Million Dollar Band and the Texas Band during the half. The sports guys didn’t yak for the whole half this time. Yea,  ABC!) 

Alabama’s Return to the Rose Bowl is Special

January 7, 2010

Alabama’s participation in the BCS National Championship game in the Rose Bowl is very special, and not just because it is the national championship, but because it’s the first time Alabama has played for the National Championship in the Rose Bowl since 1946. 

It all started in 1926, the game that  has been called the one “that changed the South.”  Alabama, being a Southern Team, was not supposed to win because Southern teams were thought to be no match for teams in the North.  Alabama beat Washington in that game and continued to return to the Rose Bowl to win most of the games it played there.

The Tuscaloosa News has a very good story about Alabama’s football history. You can check it out by clicking  this link.

Update: Not All Million Dollar Band Members Go to Pasadena

January 5, 2010

It turns out that not all members of the University of Alabama Million Dollar Band are going to Pasadena for the National Championship game between Alabama and Texas.  The size of the band at this point is 388 members, but only 349 of them, plus 26 support and administrative personnel, are going.  Band spokesperson Jane Hall says the Citi BCS National Championship organization is paying for the flight and specified the number of people it would transport.  She did say that some band members who live in other states may go on their own.

Alabama’s Really is a Million Dollar Band

January 3, 2010
The Crimson Tide is certainly a million dollar football team – the coach probably makes that much – but, it’s the band that gets the moniker. The University of Alabama marching band has been called the Million Dollar Band since 1922.
If W.C. “Champ” Pickens, the alumnus given credit for naming the band,  learned what it cost to transport it today, he’d probably really be impressed.  The band’s website tells us that the name “Million Dollar Band” was bestowed on the organization in 1922 by Pickens. He was impressed that the band raised enough money to travel from Tuscaloosa to Atlanta to play at the Georgia Tech vs.  Alabama game. The band wasn’t really big then, so it probably only cost a couple of thousand dollars for the ride.

Will Gibson, percussionist, University of Alabama Million Dollar Band

Will Gibson, son of Karen and my late nephew Jack Gibson, played drums in the Million Dollar Band up until this year.  I asked him if he had any idea of what it would cost to fly today’s band to Pasadena, California for the National Championship game Thursday.  He said he really didn’t know, but if we assume  that the round-trip ticket is $300 per band member , we could figure that the cost would be more than $100,000.  That’s just air transportation cost. You have to add the cost of ground transportation,  food and hotel rooms and, well, when you consider that a number of trips are made,  and the other expenses involved with fielding a band that large, you can see that the phrase “Million Dollar Band” is  now loaded with real meaning.
I have a special stake in the game and the band’s performance.  One connection,of course, is Will, who is, by the way, like his father,  a great percussionist.  He  played with the band for a lot of games, including a  few bowl games, but decided to give it up this year so he could devote his time to his studies.  Will’s mom Karen got her masters in English at Alabama,  and his father was the lead instructor of the band’s percussion section before Will was born, and he ended up getting his PhD at Alabama.  So, yes, I want Alabama to beat Texas and become  national champions.
I am probably going to be miffed at ABC because  it probably will not show the bands very much.  None of the networks give much air time to the college football bands, though I have seen a little improvement lately.   Maybe enough emails will get their attention.  Just click on this ESPN LINK  and, in the comment box, tell them you would like to be able to see the Alabama and Texas bands  during the broadcast of the national championship game.  Forward this to your friends and ask them to do the same thing.  It takes numbers to impress these folks.
(This post has been updated with more information in the post that now precedes it.)

Why Did An Auburn U. Ag Student Die From Drinking Milk?

September 1, 2009

Georgia will beat Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech will beat Georgia. Auburn will beat Alabama. Alabama will beat Auburn.  That’s what the Rotary Club of Columbus Fearless Forecasters predicted last Wednesday.

They got laughs for their sometimes funny insults.  One of them said,  An Auburn student died the other day from drinking milk.  The cow sat on him.”

Now, here are the Fearless Forecasters’ predictions for this season’s football games played by Georgia Tech, Auburn, Alabama and Georgia. Should you use their predictions when you place your bets?  Well, let’s just say … they try.

For Auburn, Judge Bill Smith – he’s a retired Superior Court Judge, who still judges on a part-time basis – predicts Auburn will go 9-3 and beat rival Alabama 21-13.

Judge Bill Smith, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Judge Bill Smith, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

For Georgia Tech, Frank Etheridge, a retired banker,  got to crow a lot about Georgia Tech beating Georgia last year, even it was the first time in seven years.  He believes Tech will have a great season, winning 10 and losing 2 games.  He says Tech will beat Georgia 35-28.

Frank Etheridge (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Frank Etheridge (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Mac Plummer, St. Francis Hospital executive, who never went to Alabama, fronts for Alabama because, while his college team is West Point since he went there,  he says if you live in South Alabama you have to be for either ALabama or Auburn, and he picked Alabama.  He predicts Alabama will go 11- 1, and will beat Auburn.

Mac Plummer, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Mac Plummer, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

And attorney Ron Mullins,  representing the Bulldogs, predicted Georgia will go 10-2, and beat Tech 38-24. 

Ron Mullins, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Ron Mullins, Rotary Club of Columbus, GA (Courtesy: Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

My prediction?  One of my alma maters, Mercer University, will not beat Georgia. That’s because it won’t play Georgia.  It won’t play anybody because it has no team. But, it did. In fact, the first football game Georgia played was in 1892 against Mercer.  The Bulldogs won 50-0.   Georgia’s legendary coach Wally Butts played on  Mercer’s team in the late 1920’s.  Mercer did manage to beat  Georgia Tech that year. It was also the first game played by a Tech team.

The Fearless Forecasters program always draws a lot of guests to the “downtown” Rotary Club.  After all, college football is big deal in our corner of Georgia and Alabama, and all of us need a few laughs to get us through the day.