Though multi-talented, Alabama is a football school

Kevin Connell

As we wind down on the school year, one thing we might notice are the daily college tours that lead prospective students all over The University of Alabama campus.

Some of these students may already know the campus like the back of their hand, having visited the school on numerous occasions growing up in the state. These are the students who not only have a general idea of the layout of the campus but know the pride one gets when someone gives them a “Roll Tide!” as well.

The other block of students is the out-of-staters, coming from all different corners of the country. Most of this group is probably visiting the campus for the first time, with no idea about where things are or where they are going.

But if you put these students on the spot and asked them one thing they do already know about the school, what do you think they are going to say?

Yes, it’s football. Everyone knows the Alabama football team has won three out of the last four BCS National Championship games. Everyone knows Alabama has one of the most passionate fan bases in sports. Everyone knows that Alabama is a “football school.”

None of that is new to anyone. They’re always going to be No. 1 in the hearts of the fans, and nothing will ever change that.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with this, but I have a bit of a problem with it. Alabama is more than just a football school. It is a gymnastics school, softball school and a golf school, too.

The Crimson Tide won three national championships last spring in gymnastics, softball and women’s golf. They even came within a stroke of winning a national championship in men’s golf as well.

Yes, Alabama fans noticed, and surely they all thought it was an impressive feat by the school, but I’m not convinced they realize just how impressive it was. Some Division I schools have never won a national championship in any sport, and Alabama won three in one season.

So why does it seem that so many fans are unable to see this? Has football captured all our hearts, leaving no room for any other sport to squeeze in?

Even some of the more popular sports, such as men’s basketball and baseball, don’t interest the fans like you think they would.

At several men’s basketball games this year, there were entire sections with virtually no fans in it for one of the top teams in the Southeastern Conference. The same applies for the baseball program, which have moved into the top-half in a very competitive SEC, following a last-place finish in the conference a year ago.

I’ve concluded that no matter what any of these non-football teams do here, they will never capture the full attention of all the students, faculty and alumni like the football team does.

No one is partying out on the Strip after a national championship victory in gymnastics, softball or golf like after an Alabama football win. Quite honestly, I’m not convinced a national championship in men’s basketball or baseball would spur a mass celebration either.

From the first national championship in 1925 to the most recent in 2013, Alabama is, and always will be, a football school.