Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Joseph O. Patton: Fourth down and… fail!

  Former Auburn-Montgomery Chancellor Roy Saigo humorously told former Montgomery Mayor Emory Folmar - with his tongue planted squarely in his cheek - that the university would form a football team… as soon as it started a sumo wrestling team. If only that remains true…

  I was disheartened to read in the AUMnibus that my alma mater is taking its first steps toward bringing football to its campus. I’m certainly not opposed to college football (“Rammer Jammer, Yellowhammer, Give ‘em Hell, Alabama!”), but dressing AUM up with football is like trying to fit Madonna with a chastity belt - it’s not a practical or attractive idea.

  One of my greatest loves for AUM will always be its dedicated, tireless faculty and staff and its overall focus on providing an academics-centered experience for its student body. All the pie in the sky ideas stemming from the desire to make the school a more “traditional” campus may undercut the very thing which makes it unique and effective - specifically its focus on education rather than on-campus parties, football or any other trivial trapping of a larger campus where 200 faceless students are packed into each classroom of  a professor whose name they don’t even know; where grads are pumped out like sodas from a vending machine; they have a dive-through to pick up your degree; and those seeking an education are invariably lost in the shuffle of vulgar team cheers, sloppy keggers and knuckle-dragging pantie raids.

  And it should go without asking that in such a vicious cycle of frequent tuition and fee increases, coupled with curtailed state funding, how can anyone possibly justify such an expenditure? I thought the administration chopped down its money tree in honor of my graduation….

  If so much cash is flying around on Taylor Road, I would humbly argue that it should be applied toward expanding course offerings and times, upping the amount of academic scholarships available, even offering entire new majors and other academics-based endeavors. Investing in pig skin - especially in a state that is already filled to overflowing with football teams - is more risky than playing Russian Roulette.

  There is also the touchy subject of interest - step anywhere near an AUM sporting event and you’ll quickly see how “supportive” the student body of Auburn-Montgomery can be. To phrase it as delicately as possible, the only support athletes receive is typically from the cup they’re wearing. If tennis, soccer, baseball and basketball don’t draw sizable crowds, what makes the AUM community think football will be some form of magic bullet? Ultimately, Auburn-Montgomery is a “commuter” campus - its students are largely adults who already have families and/or work full time--they rush to class then rush home to feed their children, not to sit idly on a set of bleachers.

  If you have a burning and overwhelming desire to tail-gate, get sloshed in the parking lot then holler like its New Year’s Eve as the boys knock themselves cross-eyed on the field, then go for it… it’s just a short commute to Auburn and not too terribly far to Tuscaloosa. But no one signed up for any of that at Auburn-Montgomery.

  About the author: Joseph O. Patton is the editor-in-chief and founder of the Capital City Free Press.

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1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I think that boy ain't right....