Bama Football and (a lack of) Bama Philosophy

If you follow college football at all, then you know that former LSU coach Nick Saban has left the Miami Dolphins to coach the University of Alabama Crimson Tide/Charging Elephants (I believe there is some confusion at Bama concerning their mascot). You may also know that his contract is (basically) $4 million a year for eight years, which makes him the highest paid college football coach in America.

Now, I’m a huge college football fan—especially LSU, but the SEC in general. I happen to think Saban is a great coach, especially since he brought a BCS championship home to Baton Rouge (despite what you USC fans may think). I also love the great state of Alabama. I went to Bible College in Birmingham, made very good friends there, met and married my wife there, and hope to return there one day (soon). In fact, we would have already returned, save one thing: there is no graduate program in philosophy anywhere in the state of Alabama. Not even a master’s program.

Of course, there may be some very good reasons for that. On second thought, no, that’s not possible. I can’t think of any good reasons to forgo a graduate program in philosophy. The state should be embarrassed over this state of affairs! There are two major, well-known and well-respected colleges in Alabama: Auburn University and the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa), not to mention UAB, Samford, and other smaller schools. But I want to specifically call out UA., as they purport to be THE state school of Alabama. Let me be clear: I’m not picking on the phil department; I’m talking to the administration, the movers and shakers there. Why? Because they apparently think football is more important. Four million dollars a year for eight years, just for a football coach!?!

Look, I’m sure that taking an undergrad only program and adding on a master’s is quite complicated and difficult. But do you think you could find a way if we appropriate, say, only $1 million a year extra to your department? How about four million? “But Keith, you don’t realize that all that money comes from alumni who stipulate that it go to the football program. If we don’t do what they say, then we can’t have the money at all.” Is that really the type of graduates UA is producing? If so, then I think it’s plenty clear how badly the academics need the resources such money could provide. Besides, we know better.

I’m calling out the powers that be at UA: get as serious about academics as you are about football. Come on Mr. President of the university, get your priorities straight. Take a look at other state schools around you: UGA, LSU, U of Tennessee, and others all have at least an M.A. in philosophy. Let’s get with the program.


5 Responses to Bama Football and (a lack of) Bama Philosophy

  1. All I need to say is, “War Eagle.”

  2. Julie Loftin says:

    Amen Loftin! 🙂

  3. J Cassel says:

    Hey Bro. Just thought I would enlighten you and give you a small history lesson on the greatest football program in the history of college football.

    “How the Crimson Tide Got its Name”

    In early newspaper accounts of Alabama football, the team was simply listed as the “varsity” or the “Crimson White” after the school colors. The first nickname to become popular and used by headline writers was the “Thin Red Line.” The nickname was used until 1906. The name “Crimson Tide” was supposedly mentioned first by Hugh Roberts, former sports editor of the Birmingham Age-Herald. He used “Crimson Tide” in describing an Alabama-Auburn game played in Birmingham in 1907, the last football contest between the two schools until 1948 when the series was resumed. The game was played in a sea of mud and Auburn was a heavy favorite to win. But, evidently, the “Thin Red Line” played a great game in the red mud and held Auburn to a 6-6 tie, thus gaining the name “Crimson Tide.” Zipp Newman, former sports editor of the Birmingham News, probably popularized the name more than any other writer.

    The Elephant Story

    The story of how Alabama became associated with the “elephant” goes back to the 1930 season when Coach Wallace Wade had assembled a great football team. On October 8, 1930, sports writer Everett Strupper of the Atlanta Journal wrote a story of the Alabama-Mississippi game he had witnessed in Tuscaloosa four days earlier. Strupper wrote, “That Alabama team of 1930 is a typical Wade machine, powerful, big, tough, fast, aggressive, well-schooled in fundamentals, and the best blocking team for this early in the season that I have ever seen.” When those big brutes hit you I mean you go down and stay down, often for an additional two minutes. “Coach Wade started his second team that was plenty big and they went right to their knitting scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against one of the best fighting small lines that I have seen. For Ole Miss was truly battling the big boys for every inch of ground. “At the end of the quarter, the earth started to tremble, there was a distant rumble that continued to grow. Some excited fan in the stands bellowed, ‘Hold your horses, the elephants are coming,’ and out stamped this Alabama varsity. “It was the first time that I had seen it and the size of the entire eleven nearly knocked me cold, men that I had seen play last year looking like they had nearly doubled in size.” Strupper and other writers continued to refer to the Alabama linemen as “Red Elephants,” the color referring to the crimson jerseys. The 1930 team posted an overall 10-0 record. It shut out eight opponents and allowed only 13 points all season while scoring 217. The “Red Elephants” rolled over Washington State 24-0 in the Rose Bowl and were declared National Champions. They were later known as the “Alabama Crimson Tide”, with an elephant as a mascot. I hope this helps clear up some confusion

    Regarding the need of an M.A. in Philosophy, I agree with you. They are such a prestigous university. They need to represent the field and establish a degree program that precedes their reputation as a university. I hope one day that they will realize this and move forward in their pursuit of excellence concerning education.

  4. Joan says:

    Roll Tide!

  5. Keith says:

    Wow Joan, I guess we hadn’t thought of it that way…

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