Posts Tagged ‘Rose Bowl’

The Trouble with Football

December 15, 2014


Retired legendary Georgia Tech basketball coach Bobby Cremins

Retired legendary Georgia Tech basketball coach Bobby Cremins

Bobby Cremins, the most successful Georgia Tech basketball coach ever – the school named its basketball court after him – talked as much about football as basketball when he spoke to  members of the Rotary Club of Columbus. That’s because the paying-players controversy affects basketball and all college sports. If you pay football players, you have to pay all team sport athletes. Not everyone agrees. Some say you pay the players that bring in the big bucks. That’s the way capitalism works.  People, they assert, who say you have to pay all of them are just using that as an excuse to keep from paying any.

Cremins agrees the players should get more of the “ridiculous” amount of money the TV networks are paying to broadcast the games.  When they see the schools and coaches getting millions of dollars, while they play the games and take the physical risks and get only a scholarship for and room and board, they feel cheated.  He says they have a case, but he is opposed to paying them.  Instead, he is for giving them a stipend.  So paying them a $5,000-a-month stipend, the figure being considered by the NCAA, is not paying them. Uh huh.

While college football is riding high now, the future is not so rosy.  A recent poll shows that 50 percent of American parents don’t want their sons to play football.  All the news about the brain injuries caused by concussions and about kids dying from injuries is taking its toll. Also, the news about brutal and criminal off-the-field behavior by some players has its effects.  College players are produced by high school football.

As for me, I enjoy a good game, especially if Georgia Tech, Georgia, Alabama, or Auburn are playing.  Still, as I have said before, if I had a young son, I would not want him  playing football. The physical risks are just too great.  It’s just not worth it.



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.)