Someone asked about some Bama history a few days ago – Introduction Part 2
This is a brief on how Alabama fell from grace in the general timeframe of the 1992 Championship thru Coach Fran with some earlier history thrown in for reference. It sheds light (true or false – that is up to the individual) on what happened to bring down the Tide and who all was involved. It definitely helps explain the animosity toward Phil Fulmer. I didn’t write any of the brief and don’t personally know anyone mentioned or attributed. I am not responsible for any typo, spelling, formatting, or whitespace errors. Nor am I responsible for any judgment errors, innuendo, false allegations, heresy, rumor mongering, slander, defamation, or character assassination. I just happened to cut and paste it from a Bama message forum (and I don’t remember which one) way back in the day and thought I might want hang on to it. I am only responsible for segmenting the document into chapters to make it easier to re-post as several RBR Fanpost. As with all Fanpost the content is not approved, condoned, sponsored, attributed, or verified by RBR or SBN and any of their writers, editors, or content providers. Buckle up this is a very long read. – WM58
Posted by clay3482 on February 27, 2004 at 20:59:25:
The Fall Of the Tide
This is only a compilation of public information put in one place so that the truth could come finally out. Some source articles came from MAJOR news outlets and some from Internet Message Board Archives. I will try to credit everyone at the end of the "brief" in Appendix A. This is a rough draft however, so if you see something I missed or in the case of internet posters if you would like your Real Name instead of your Internet Handle credited please let me know.
Thanks to all who have helped!
Roll Tide Forever!
Enjoy The Brief
The Fall of the Tide
To look to the future we must first look to the past. What does it mean this mess we have made over the past decade? Having numerous strategic blunders, making poor hires, fielding some of the poorest teams in 50 years, falling behind other schools in terms of facilities and management skills, fostering vicious infighting, and reaping the severest of NCAA sanctions are all the product of one thing - lack of leadership.
I'm a great proponent of moving on past Coach Bryant. But one thing he provided that we haven't had since was unquestioned authority and leadership over our athletic dominion. To this day we have yet to find a way to fill the vacuum left by Coach Bryant's retirement and untimely death. Had he lived a few more years, he could have been a steadying influence during the transition away from his coaching days. Unfortunately, fate didn't allow us that luxury.
Even though I will pinpoint Sorensen's arrival as the genesis of our troubles, truth is one could just as easily see all of the same strains and tensions of the Sorensen years in Joab Thomas's relationship with Ray Perkins and the athletic program in general. That Thomas thought the football program was something that needed to be controlled by the academic wing of the University and that it was something that had to be put in its proper place and perspective. Thomas somehow thought football detracted from greater things that the University should be doing. I think this kind of thinking is a absolute disaster. I also believe it led to a number of decisions regarding personnel and long range planning that through a tragic series of events has landed us where we are now.
The notion that big time athletics can't co-exist with academics is at best laughable. Furthermore, the idea that one can divorce football from the fundamental psyche of Alabama students, graduates, fans and supporters is even more laughable. A large part of the fabric of our love for this school and in a larger sense our culture is informed by the images and experience we share through our beloved football team. In short, any attempt to "de-emphasize" football within the larger University is not only doomed to failure, it is fundamentally impossible.
Say what you will about Auburn, Tennessee, or even Florida but one thing they have done that Alabama has not has realize that a MAJOR part of their Universities image is their Football Program. Could you think about Kentucky without Basketball? What about Duke? What if someone has a degree from Gonzaga or Xavier, are you more than likely going to know of the university because of their Athletic program or their Debate team? Not trying to single out a Jocks vs. Academia match-up --- rather, I am trying to make people understand that you can not separate Football from the University of Alabama no more than you can separate Finebaum and Baldness.
Now, to make it even easier for the NON-Jocks to understand, would you put LEE ROY JORDAN in charge of Academics at the University of Alabama? Then why in the hell has their been this obsession ever since Bear died tried to put the Athletic Department under the Control of the President?
In fairness, the failure to recognize and embrace this fundamental truth over the past decade is not the only cause for the failure of leadership. Limited resources available to the University itself from the state have only made worse the tensions between Rose Administration and the football complex. The blame for the lack of leadership runs to the highest levels of the State. The failure to put our state's fiscal house in order, the starving of our universities of much needed revenue has only served to force our Universities to seek alternative means of maintaining funding for its most basic missions. How could an anti-athletic attitude not be present when the multi-million dollar demands of the University's educational mission and infrastructure are contrasted with similar financial pressures on the athletic department to keep up with the other SEC Powers of college football.
Too many people in the Alabama orbit like to point to one event, or person as the cause of our troubles. But it's far too complicated for that. Without a strong leader with people to follow his direction you get the factionalism and infighting that inevitably lands you in the jailhouse. It produces disgruntled people who pursue narrow agendas without accountability. It breeds disharmony and discontent that our enemies exploit and feed off of. We don't have a good ole boy problem, or a booster problem, or a coaching problem, or a management problem, or an academic problem, or a financial problem, OR A NCAA COMPLIANCE PROBLEM. We have a leadership problem. Without a strong leader with the authority and power to back up what he says - good people become mediocre, weak people become useless, and bad people become cancerous.
"Make no mistake. You start at the top. If you don't have a good one at the top, you don't have a cut dog's chance. If you do, the rest falls into place. You have to have good assistants, and a lot of things, but first you have to have the chairman of the board."
Paul "Bear" Bryant