Tide Vs. Tigers Is Unsportsmanlike
There's a bit or irony that Alabama football will share the stage with Crimson Tide basketball on this Feb. 29 Leap Day. That's because representatives of Auburn and Alabama chapters of ODK will participate in a halftime presentation of the trophy named for Alabama graduate and longtime Auburn Dean James E. Foy.
Euphemistically described as a "Sportsmanship" trophy, its presentation is anything but.
Alabama vs. Auburn is an unsportsmanlike rivalry.
Want an example? Following the April 27 tornado that devastated Tuscaloosa, there was a post by an Auburn fan on an Auburn Internet site saying "the tornado didn't do enough damage." This was a tornado that killed over 50 people in Tuscaloosa, primarily the most vulnerable, the elderly and school children, a handful of students at The University; destroyed 5,000 homes; and wiped out many businesses.
Reasonable people know that was not a typical Auburn fan, just as many Auburn followers know that Updyke is not a typical Alabama fan. But actions of those types expand a rift that seems irreparable.
Alabama will host Auburn in a basketball game in Coleman Coliseum at 7 p.m. CST. The stands will be full, stands that had plenty of empty seats for critical games throughout the season. And they will be full to see a few Auburn students forced to participate in a humiliating trophy presentation, just as Alabama students suffered at halftime of Alabama's basketball game in Auburn a year ago.
The trophy goes to the winner of the football game. Alabama gets it this year because the Tide trounced Auburn in Auburn, 42-14, last fall.
Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said the trophy presentation is not a factor in the basketball game. "We're in the locker room" during the presentation, he said.
Two years ago the Tigers faithful were incensed that Bama Football Coach Nick Saban referred, complimentarily, to Auburn's football team, but called it "the University of Auburn."
Since then that insult has been mitigated by various Tigers signees, and even Auburn University coaches, making the same mistake.
Is it any wonder that followers on both sides want Alabama and Auburn in different divisions of the Southeastern Conference, relegated to only occasional football games against one another? It will be a shame if an inability to play nice – the fans, not the players – has such a ramification.
Dr. Foy had higher hopes.
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