bread and circuses

new University of Texas football coach Tom Herman. Source: hookem.com

new University of Texas football coach Tom Herman. Source: hookem.com

People often say that college football is "a multi-million dollar industry." I don't pay much attention to the sport, so I only understand that statement as a truism or an abstraction. But this piece gave me a really good sense of how that really works and what it really means. It is on a blog, published by the Austin American-Statesman, related to University of Texas (UT) football. (Full disclosure: I've written a couple of book reviews for the paper. It was over ten years ago and the one person who might, in the unlikeliest of circumstances, even remember me is no longer there.) The article concerns Tom Herman, the new Texas football coach and its focus is on his assessment of the UT facilities. In Herman's view, they are not up to par. It seems the athletic department needs to spend more money in order to keep up with the college football Joneses. "UT is behind," in the coach's assessment, "but not by much. 'Nothing that a multi-million dollar facelift can't fix.' Herman said."

Though Herman needs more, I'm amazed just by what is already there. The coach already has, for instance, a chief of staff, just like the one that the President of the United States has to run the White House. But it is not enough. The football team, he believes, lacks its own full-time nutritionist and needs new graphics in the hallways. Anyplace he can spend money, it appears, he will. The whole thing strikes me as rather decadent. If the players aren't already drinking their Gatorade out of gold-plated goblets, Tom Herman will be making sure that they are soon.