RON HART: Pride & Prejudice, the religion of Southern football

Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 09:27 AM.

It's not like Northern schools have some moral high ground here or are not trying. Look at that Rutgers coach yelling at players. You really cannot have a championship football program where coaches are required to ask nicely that players achieve team goals and have to vet their remarks through the university's Human Resources Department.

While the sport is not perfect, a lot of good is derived from college football. Before I judge these 18-year-old kids, I remind myself that I have hip replacements older than they are. Even if the players do not go to class, they learn many meaningful educational lessons:

•Investment 101: Athletes learn about getting a high return on investment (ROI). Auburn University spent $100,000 to get Cam Newton and won a national championship. The highest ROI ever — allegedly.

•Management 101: Athletes learn discipline. When players at Oklahoma State U. get in trouble for violating team rules, they are often suspended without pay.

•Law 101: While only 3 percent of college players end up playing professional football, those few will learn a good bit about the legal system. It is a goal of all of great athletes like Ray Lewis and O.J. Simpson to someday achieve the NFL star’s ultimate dream: a hung jury.

•Marketing 101: I read a story about a “hostess” at The University of Tennessee whose ability to enhance the college visits of football recruits was quite remarkable. She was skilled in the art of persuasion and was affectionately called “The Closer” by fellow “Orange Pride” hostesses.  Coaches loved her.

All this is preemptive banter for my buddies from California who come to different SEC football games each year. This year the six Stanford alums decided to host our trip to California for the first time. They have us scheduled to see Oregon vs. Stanford and USC vs. Cal-Berkley. I asked if these were real football games, or just flag or Frisbee football played on the campus green where every student had to participate equally and all scores had to be ties so there would be no losers.

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