Our first home football game.
The fall semester now truly feels official.
Having the #1 ranked football team in the country and Tim Tebow back for his senior year do make this a special year for Gator fans. But from my years of teaching at UF, every year is pretty exciting in terms of football.
When I was leaving campus on Thursday, I took a route through the football stadium. Students — those lucky enough to have season tickets — were lined up to pick up their tickets for Saturday’s game. A bonus of being a season ticket holder is receiving a special Gator T-shirt.
The impact of athletics on higher education certainly is a topic of ongoing debate.
In his book Beer and Circus: How Big-Time College Sports Is Crippling Undergraduate Education, Murray Sperber discusses how college sports programs encourage students to put less focus on their education and view college as an experience of sports, social activities and also classes.
In Florida, the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida both added football teams to help promote school spirit, brand awareness, and student enrollment. UCF’s football team had played in the Citrus Bowl in downtown Orlando since 1979. But a big fundraising effort led to the building of a new stadium on the UCF campus, which opened for the 2007 football season. Bright House will be paying $15 million over 15 years for the naming rights.
And, by the way, UCF now has the largest student enrollment in Florida — topping UF for the first time.