This afternoon, Clay Travis penned a thousand-word epistle over at FanHouse on the travesty being wrought on the educational system of the United States -- and the reputation of the entire Southeast -- by a reprehensible and abhorrent decision made by the University of Alabama this week.
Mr. Travis -- who you may remember as the ultra-classy "journalist" who used SEC Media Days as an opportunity to question Tim Tebow about his sex life -- is, apparently, incensed that classes will not be held from January 6-8 at The Capstone on account of the BCS National Championship Game.
When I read the piece, I knew it warranted a response, but my mind was swimming. Should I point out the ridiculously flawed logic of linking the number of statewide degree-holders to three days of class at one of the state's many universities?
Should I marvel at the fact that, apparently, Mr. Travis believes that babies today come out of the womb not only capable of running, but of running a 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds?
What of the assertion that, somehow, a degree from Vanderbilt is worth less because classes aren't being held for a couple of days in January at a university hundreds of miles away?
Should I point out the absolute lack of analysis as to the number of days of class at Alabama and how that compares to other schools and whether or not these three days amount to a hill of beans in all that? Or maybe the fact that these three days fall squarely in the middle of the add/drop period and, therefore, won't prevent anyone from modifying their schedule?
I could also discuss how Alabama's football graduation rate is one of the best in the SEC and if the football team can graduate at that rate despite missing some class for games, that it's probably not such a huge deal to other students, either. Or note that UT's football graduation rate is more than 14% lower and talk about that age-old adage of glass houses.
Maybe I should point out to Mr. Travis that his sainted alma mater doesn't start class until the 13th of January (more than a week after Alabama) and only finishes finals a few days ahead.
No. While the list of patently absurd claims, generalizations, and crimes against statistics goes on, I realized that I was really giving Travis's ranty screed far, far too much credit.
The bottom line, as it turns out, is that this has nothing to do with some sort of educational or moral imperative to have class on January 6th, 7th, or 8th. It's not about some "message" that the University is allegedly sending.
Not a single person is harmed by a school taking a few days off to celebrate the accomplishments of the football team. Or our former presidents. Or Martin Luther King. Or the pilgrims and Indians. Or Casimir Pulaski. Professors who feel wronged will simply assign work for the extra days off. Students are not being prohibited from studying on those days, they're simply being excused from classes so that they can celebrate something most students over the past two decades at Alabama haven't gotten a chance to see . . . it might as well be a blizzard.
Coming as a surprise to absolutely nobody, though, is that Mr. Travis doesn't have any relevant data. He doesn't have any solid arguments. All he has is a bunch of outrage over . . . some slight modifications to an academic calendar.
Really, Clay, cry us a river already.
His article is a perfect example of a blogger with a bias, a bullhorn, and a soapbox to shout from who simply cannot stand the fact that a school he hates will be playing for a BCS title.
It's an object lesson in class warfare. He can't stand the fact that some trust-fund babies are going to get an all-expense paid trip to a far-off and glamorous destination and get to party for an extended weekend on their parent's dime.
It's a classic illustration of a self-loathing southerner looking for any excuse to help tear down an entire region of the country in the name of defending it.
We're not talking about some earth-shattering, ground-breaking administrative decision here. It's half a week of classes out of 4 years of schooling, given during a time of the year when classes and schedules are still being formed and a healthy number of other universities still have yet to return to class after winter break.
It's not a referendum on education vs. athletics. It's not a prohibition on learning. It's not a scaling back of the academic goals of the students, professors, or university at large. It's just a school he hates celebrating success he wishes they didn't have.
And his article is just another delusional, ignorant fan, blinded by rivalry, attempting to make a mountain out of a molehill.
Or, as we would say in Alabama: goin' off half cocked and squealin' like a stuck pig.