I'm Proud To Attend A 'Football School'
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I'm Proud To Attend A 'Football School'

“I bet you have plenty of fun, but do you think you’ll actually be able to compete with students at…you know… more academic schools?”

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I'm Proud To Attend A 'Football School'
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Alabama. Florida State. Ohio State. USC.

What do these colleges all have in common? For starters, there's a good chance their names sound awfully familiar.

This year, the Alabama Crimson Tide returned to the College Football National Championship Game with the hope of once again defeating Clemson and taking home the school's 17th National Title. Since their defeat in the final minutes of the game, Alabama pulled in a record recruiting class, signed an extension on Head Coach Nick Saban's contract, and remains #1 according to preseason rankings. Florida State ended last season ranked eighth according to AP Poll, after losing games to several top-tier programs. Despite their losses, Florida State's performance earned the Seminoles a #3 preseason rank and a season opener against the top-seeded Tide- reminiscent of the USC-Alabama opener in 2016. Entering 2017, Ohio State sits comfortably in the #2 seat despite finishing sixth last year, while USC remains a solid #4 after finishing third last year. However, that isn't all they have in common — but we'll get to that later.

After my first visit to the University of Alabama mid-December of my senior year, I was ecstatic. When I arrived on the Tuscaloosa campus, I received a great tour, met a wide variety of students, and had the opportunity to talk with dedicated teachers and professors about major-specific programs. Even after sending in my application, I continued to do some additional research. There was no harm in doing so- I needed to make an informed decision.

  • "More than 40 percent of UA's 7,559-member freshman class scored 30 or higher on the ACT…"
  • "The University of Alabama is a leader among public universities nationwide in the enrollment of National Merit Scholars with more than 500 currently enrolled."
  • "Fourteen University of Alabama alumni and students won Fulbright awards for 2017-18. Five UA students and alumni received Fulbright research awards."

The awards, honors, mentions — the list went on and on! After completing my research, I was more excited than I had been before. I had already applied to six or seven other schools, but deep down I knew exactly where I would end up going to college. Naturally, I was thrilled. My mind was made up and I was going to college! Yet when I began telling people at school about my intentions, I got mixed reactions.

"I mean sure we'll have the same degrees, but let's be honest- at Alabama, you won't have to work nearly as hard for yours."

"You realize you have to find a job after college, right? The job markets kind of competitive and Alabama, well, isn't."

"I totally didn't think you would end up at a football school. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun there!"

Alabama. Florida State. Ohio State. USC.

There's something else that these schools and so many others have in common: they are unfairly and commonly stereotyped as having a "football first" or "athletics first" attitude. Many people believe that because the school spends so much money on athletic programs, that they aren't as competitive academically. These same people tend to use historic or modern-day trends of victory on the field or court as proof against success in the classroom. They point to massive stadiums, state-of-the-art training facilities, and sometimes excessive coaching staffs as evidence for less funding in the classroom- while seeming to forget the millions of dollars these schools spend on academic scholarships, research grants, honors programs, and the recruitment of top-level educators. These people even go as far as to claim that because one or two schools cut athletes too much slack, that ALL colleges with successful athletics programs cut ALL of their students this "slack."

And that, my friends, is bullsh*t.

Previously, I provided you with a few interesting facts and statistics about the University of Alabama. Here are a few more additional facts you may perhaps find equally as interesting:

Florida State:

  • "Carnegie Commission classification: "Doctoral Universities: Highest Research Activity"
  • "Accepted freshmen for 2016: 4.1 average GPA; 1858 average SAT score"

Ohio State:

  • "#16 among the nation's best public universities; #1 among Ohio publics (U.S. News and World Report)"
  • "Ranked among the top 12 U.S. public research universities and 4th among all universities in industry-sponsored research (National Science Foundation)"

USC:

  • "The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked USC 15th among 1,061 public and private universities."
  • "Fall 2016 Freshman: 229 National Merit Scholars"

Nobody likes it when their team loses — that's a fact. Fortunately, as a student at the University of Alabama, this is not a dilemma that we have too often. Unfortunately, there are many students not allowed that luxury. So instead of dealing with it like adults, they make false claims and accusations about winning school's academic programs without first checking the facts. In an attempt to draw in more prospective students and additional funding, many colleges are making a push towards stronger athletic programs. Stanford ended the 2016-17 College Football season ranked #12. Meanwhile Princeton, Northwestern, and Notre Dame all made it onto the NCAA March Madness Bracket this year.

I'm proud to attend a "football school." I'm proud to attend a college known for winning both on the field and in the classroom- a college where I know I can receive a quality education while enjoying Saturday night football. I'm proud to be surrounded every day by 38,000 other students who feel the same way. Most importantly, I'm proud to be a student at the University of Alabama.

Roll. Tide.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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