Wednesday, December 4, 2013

the last book I ever read (The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football, excerpt three)

from The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian:

The UT football program is the mother ship of money, generating $103.8 million in revenue during the 2011-12 football season—nearly $20 million more than No. 2 Michigan. Even more impressive, it produced a reported $78 million in profit. Not $78 million in revenue--$78 million in profit.

To behold the nature of the machine at work, take a walk around Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on game day or, better yet, on a quiet Sunday morning after a game. But give yourself some time. It takes a good half hour to circumnavigate the stadium alone, all 100,000 seats of it. The stone columns resembling hundred-year-old oaks only add to a percussive sense of size and strength.

Just inside an east-end entrance stands a statue of Royal, the certifiable Texas legend who died on November 7, 2012, at the age of eighty-eight. During his twenty years as head coach in Austin (1957-76) he won 167 games, three national championships (1963, 1969, 1970) and eleven Southwest Conference titles. The Sunday morning after his death, orange and red roses lay fading at the feet of his statue, the lone sound a state flag flapping in the breeze, clanging against a pole. A video board the size of a strip mall filled one end of the stadium. The day before, the Longhorns had honored Royal with, in part, moving videos on the giant screen. A white DKR logo was affixed to every player’s helmet, and the marching band spelled out ROYAL during its halftime performance. The real tribute came on Texas’s first offensive play—a razzle-dazzle pass out of Royal’s fabled wishbone formation, players and coaches pointing to the sky following the forty-seven-yard gain. It marked the beginning of a textbook 33-7 blowout of Iowa State.

“A fitting way to honor him,” said head coach Mack Brown after the game.

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