A disclaimer is an appropriate way to start this article. I did not attend a University. In fact, I barely got through High School and limped my way through Community College where I fell a few credits short of completing an Associates' degree. So, when it comes to the importance of the football program at the University of Colorado, I can only make observations based on what I see.
What I see is a town where football doesn't seem to fit.
Boulder, Colorado is an idyllic place, a liberal place, a touchy-feely, deep-thinking, pot-smoking, tree-hugging place where education matters far more to most residents than sports.
Yet, in order for the University of Colorado's football program to be competitive in the PAC 10, they must devote millions and millions of dollars to facilities, recruiting and coaching. Granted, a fair number of millions come back in the form of television dollars and the like, but the investment needed to see a return seems to fly in the face of the values of the University.
Lincoln, Nebraska is a football place. Ames, Iowa is a football place. Ann Arbor, Michigan is a football place. They are all blue-collar, conservative towns that also happen to be College towns. They are places not at all like Boulder.
Years ago, when the big shake-up took place at CU, and the administration cleaned house and made it clear that football would no longer be more important than ethics, the mold was cast in terms of how the program would be treated moving forward. No more shady recruiting, no more escorts, no more parties, no more making Boulder out to be one giant lark for players. Boulder rolled up the red carpet and made it clear that big time athletics was no longer the most important part of campus life at CU.
The athletic department and the administration have remained at odds over how to tackle big time football and the results of that clash are what we see happening today. CU has, on the one hand, resisted allowing football to run the school and, on the other hand, switched conferences in pursuit of the big money associated with top-level athletics. There are too many forces combating one another for anything to work.
Why doesn't CU make a real statement and get rid of football altogether?
I realize that the dollars football generates are what pay for all of the other athletic pursuits within a University. I also understand that Colorado was once a proud football school. Things change, though. If there's one place where an athletic program should be able to make a go of it without football it's Boulder, Colorado.
I would love to see the University make a stand and say "screw it". There's just too much energy wasted - and too many dollars - trying to make the school competitive on that particular stage. Kick football to the curb and turn all of that energy into becoming a world class university for the huge percentage of students that don't care about what happens on Saturdays.
Major College sports are a business having nothing to do with academics - nothing to do with "College". NFL players represent their "schools" by murdering the English language in post game press conferences. It's obvious to everyone that athletes are graduated from major Universities who lack the basic communication skills that a typical middle-school student is expected to have. It's a joke. A JOKE!
So .... why can't Colorado to be one of the first to say "no more"? No more pulling the wool over everyone's eyes. No more charade. No more pretending that athletes are getting an education. No more cutting corners so that big men can parade around campus making fools of us all. No more placing a higher priority on winning than on teaching.
I might not have gone to College, but I am no fool. Many, many athletes who do graduate from the University of Colorado are fools, though, and it's embarrassing. Of course it's all done in pursuit of the almighty dollar. The University of Colorado would survive without it.