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Alabamians Are Blinded By the Light of College-Football Glory

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Message Roger Shuler

Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

For the second time in three years, the University of Alabama is the king of college football. The Crimson Tide took care of business by throttling LSU 21-0 last night in the BCS National Championship Game at the Superdome in New Orleans.

When paired with Auburn's title last year, it means the state of Alabama is home to the last three national champions--and no state ever has done that before.

A state that ranks near the bottom in many socioeconomic indicators clearly is No. 1 in the realm of college football. That means almost all of our citizens today are cheering wildly, crowing incessantly, or both.

Those who believe in separation of church and state might want to visit Alabama and check it out. College football is our state religion--and Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa and Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn serve as our treasured cathedrals. Church and state in Alabama are "inextricably intertwined," as lawyers are prone to say, and that's just how our citizens like it--especially when the football church keeps churning out national championships every year.

Alabama fans should revel in their national title, and Auburn fans should puff out their chests with knowledge that they played a major role in a history-making "three-peat." But when sanity is restored in our state--and it might take a while--Alabamians should ponder this thought: The two men who played the largest roles in shaping our football powerhouses both have ties to massive financial fraud.

The head coaches--Nick Saban at Alabama, Gene Chizik at Auburn--provide the stern but agreeable public faces for the programs. But they are just caretakers--with one down year or a big contract offer from another employer, they could be gone with the wind.

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
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