The University of Wisconsin athletic director and football coach sent a letter to students this week asking that they clean up their filthy mouths and stop with the “vulgar chants.”
UW students are notorious for chants that include colorful words that begin with F and S. The AD and coach said they’ve received letters from fans who are not impressed — particularly those who bring children to the games.
Here’s a sample: “The vulgar profanity the students chant back and forth to one another for amusement inside the stadium during the game is simply pathetic. I expected much more from the Wisconsin program.”
The AD and coach wrote asked students to be a little more creative. “We believe you want to represent yourselves, your university and the football program in a classier manner than this. We believe you can have a great time at Camp Randall without chanting four-letter words.
We tell our student-athletes all the time that the way they behave in public is a reflection on themselves, their families, the football program and the university. We are asking you to reflect on the impression you are leaving on other fans.
The letter did give the kids credit for the tradition of singing charming songs like this:
Seems like an appropriate time to read this story — The Shame of College Sports – The Atlantic — doesn’t it?
It’s a long one, but worth the time. Read it. (And tell me that video of author, Taylor Branch, doesn’t remind you of LJS’s Don Walton…)
But if you don’t give a hoot whether schools like UNL make millions of dollars off the backs of often poor, African American college athletes, and you’re more interested in reading about estrogen than testosterone — you can always read this hilarious column about menopause called The Bitch Is Back.
Top 6 reasons for Bo Pelini to go to Miami:
• Obviously, the weather is better. Albeit humid.
• He wouldn’t have to recruit that far outside of Dade County.
• More money.
• The fans there would appreciate his sideline behavior. The Miami chancellor wouldn’t chide him for it.
• He wouldn’t be the only game in town. They’ve got South Beach, the Dolphins, Lebron James and actual celebrities.
• The entire state’s mood isn’t dependent upon the success of his team.
Top 6 reasons to stay in Lincoln:
• Sellout crowds. Mind-boggling popularity.
• Better facilities, and you don’t have to drive in Miami traffic.
• Miami media won’t be as kind as Nebraska media. The Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel and Dan Lebitar won’t hesitate to tell it like it is.
• He can use this as leverage to get more money here.
• He is the celebrity here. (This could be a pro or con.)
• It would mean more to win a championship here.
My husband was once a sports rube. He says the greatest moment in his life, until he met me, was when his Minnesota Twins won the World Series for the first time during his senior year of high school. Then, his first few years as a sportswriter, particularly his experiences covering big time football and basketball, beat any love of sports out of him. He says he could have covered hockey for a lifetime, as long as he didn’t want to have a family. Hockey players had perspective. They enjoyed it. Never took it too seriously. Got beers with their rivals after games and told old time hockey stories that were funnier than anything in Slapshot, the Paul Newman cult hit my husband calls the best sports movie of all time. But football is different.
That’s why he’s been so interested in Huskermania since we moved to Lincoln six years ago. The pain. The anger. The rubes.
All he can listen to anymore, when it comes to sports radio, is a show on KFAN in Minneapolis hosted by Dan Kohl, who calls himself the Common Man. The show is a disorganized mess of a satire that takes shots at sports rubes, athletes and coaches in the fair-weather fan market of Minneapolis. Kohl says that every year all sports teams basically sell hope.
That’s what Husker football does. It sells hope that every year the Huskers could win a title. This year they made it to No. 5 in the nation. Had a shot at a national title. Sold hope. But they lost three games, and now they’re headed to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl, where they’ll hammer Washington, which they already hammered in September at the height of the hope-selling.
In a pretty condescending fashion, my husband tells me that every time a team plays a game, another team is trying to win that game. One of those teams must lose. And the Huskers won 10 of the 13 games. And will probably win 11 of 14. That’s pretty good, he says. But not good enough for rubes, who expect their teams to win them all. Only one team can do that, sometimes two, sometimes none. And that team is the national champion.
When I watch games with a Newsweek on my lap and a pile of pistachios, I’ll sometimes look up to see a yellow flag or a fumble and say “What the $#*&(@$ are we doing?” And my husband will ask me who I mean by “we,” because I don’t play for the team. I didn’t go through two-a-day practices. I didn’t have to get poked in the chest, thank God, by Bo Pelini in the middle of the third quarter. I hate that when he says that.
On my husband’s Common Man Show in Minneapolis, Dan Kohl likes to play a clip of former Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice, in a stunning moment of clarity, advising during a news conference that everybody “Enjoy the season.” Then he got fired. His successor, Brad Childress, coached the Vikings within one idiotic Brett Favre pass from making the Super Bowl. Ten games later, he got fired.
This, according to my husband, is sports. Sell hope (national championship). And when hope is lost (Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma), sell blame (Shawn Watson, Big 12 officials, Big 12 conspiracy, 20-year-old redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez). Then we can sell new hope (national championship). Oops – I mean “they” can sell new hope.