There’s an email joke that I get every so often that compares southern and northern football fans. (You know where this is going.) I always remember one of the comparisons was that southern girls wear lipstick to the games while their northern counterparts wear chapstick.
I think the comparison might be true. While getting a pedicure today a woman asked my opinion on the various shades of garnet–she wanted her toes to perfectly match Florida State’s jerseys.
For the last three years or so, most of the news concerning my team, the University of Tennessee, has been bad. Drugs, guns and off-the-court violence have been reported on way too many times. The (blessedly) short-lived reign of football coach Lane Kiffen was full of verbal gaffes and tacky behavior. When he turned tail and ran for USC, most people were glad to see him go. He was just a little too cocky and had racked up a long list of NCAA violations. Thanks to him, the powers that be in collegiate sports have turned their microscopic attention onto UT and the results are not going to be pretty.
Yesterday our basketball coach, Bruce Pearl, tearfully announced that he had misled (lied to) NCAA investigators about improprieties in his program. For a person who once turned in another school for cheating, this is a particularly embarrassing blow. And new low for the school. If the NCAA determines that there is a lack of institutional control at the school, we could be facing some serious repercussions.
But it’s September, and that means it’s football time. So regardless of what’s going on with the investigation, the young men will put on their uniforms late this afternoon and go play football. They’ll do in front of a 100,000 fans against a team that favored by two touchdowns.
The last time the school was reeling from bad news, the basketball team pulled off a huge upset and beat the No. 1 ranked team in the country. Maybe we’ll have a little luck on our side tonight.
In the meantime, I don’t even want to know what happens next. Please God just don’t let it be a Pat Summit sex tape.