So what were they thinking?

Published 8:37 am Monday, July 24, 2017

Sometimes it feels like we are in ancient Rome, not Mississippi.

Ole Miss is a great public institution of higher education and football is only a tiny part of what the university does, yet football gets too much of the attention.

The same thing can be said at the University of Alabama, and at the University of Tennessee, and throughout the Southeastern Conference, with the exception of Vanderbilt, perhaps. When it works, it rolls, building enthusiasm throughout campuses.

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But when it stumbles, it crashes, exposed for the shallow sugar high that it is: little more than a game that’s rather dangerous to participants that have gotten too big for university’s britches.

Football coaches earning $4 million or more. Reputations of the universities tied so strongly to the football coaches.

It’s a recipe for disaster, frankly.

One day, in another generation, people will look back at the era that a game that caused brain injuries for participants and grew so big that it barely let its student participants be students and took a gripping hold over universities.

They will look back on the day when coaches of amateur football teams at institutions of higher education were paid millions of dollars per year and put on such lofty pedestals that they could only eventually fail.

They will wonder what we were thinking.