How about this for a cold take?
Recently, a Reddit user from Australia posted a series of links to archived newspaper clippings from the country after wondering if outlets Down Under ever cared about college football in a big way long ago. As you might know, Hawaii and California will face off Friday in Sydney, Australia. Turns out, the user discovered quite a bit of coverage from 1890 to 1949, with most of it related to Notre Dame.
But one story has a tie to a current SEC school.
In a piece from the Jan. 8, 1937, edition of the Warwick Daily News titled, “American Professionalism May Ruin College Football,” Vanderbilt’s chancellor at the time, Dr. James H. Kirkland, argued the sport would eventually go extinct because of a growing interest in professional football.
Here’s more from the piece:
“The more football develops as a public exhibition,” the chancellor said, “the more it will be killed as a college sport. To see how this works out you need only remember what happened to baseball as a college sport when it was professionalised.
“Twenty years ago it was said that football would never become professional. Now there are professional teams in the north and east which are drawing 10,000 to 20,000 spectators every game. … It may be a good many years before college football is abandoned, but certainly the tendency now is in that direction.”
Well, so much for that. If anything, college football has rocketed in popularity along with the NFL’s rise as America’s favorite professional sports league. Football is king.
The entire article is a fun look into the past. In it, there’s talk of “resentment against over-emphasis of football,” which may remain an issue among some today.
But good thing Kirkland turned out to be way, way wrong.