An interesting article in today's New York Times sports section on SEC football. I mention it for two reasons. One is that there is reference to the NCAA decision regarding Penn State and the desire to make sports less the driving force in major colleges. I think the article indicates that the goal is likely to go unmet. Second, the discussion of the fanaticism for football at Alabama and LSU. I went to college in the state of Alabama and taught at LSU for nine years. Every time I looked at the Birmingham paper when I was a student at Samford, regardless of the time of year, there was a story on either Alabama football, or Auburn football, of the NY Jets because Joe Namath played there. Basketball, baseball etc. were totally unimportant compared to football. LSU is also crazy for football.
The article indicates that Alabama seems to be more intense than LSU and cites an obituary of a fan. However, a colleague at LSU who had season tickets recounted an incident one time. Two older guys in the seating section he was in were discussing a friend. The friend had recently died while at a LSU game. They agreed that there was no better place to be when one's time was up.
Finally, I regard the NCAA as basically hypocritical when it talks about cleaning things up. So long as the schools make millions off of football and pay players nothing, the idea of a student-athelete is a joke for the most part. The NCAA is a oligopsonistic cartel, taking advantage of players to rake in millions. For some players, the colleges provide training for professional careers. But the simple math involved with how many college players there are relative to the rosters in the NFL indicates most players will never be pros. Paying the players openly would be more honest.