Roy Exum: Tide Not NCAA Champs

Thursday, January 11, 2018
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Before 10 a.m. yesterday I found out the University of Alabama is not the 2018 NCAA Champion. Earlier in the morning a copy of my Thursday story, which wasn’t nearly as scathing as it should have been over Kendrick Lamar’s appearance during halftime of Monday night’s championship game, found its way to Stacey Osborn’s office.

Stacey, who does a magnificent job as the head of public relations, immediately wrote: “Good morning. I have an important correction for your column … The NCAA does not run or have a role in the football championship game. You should direct your comments to the CFP (College Football Playoffs), not the NCAA. Will you be correcting your column?”

Yes, absolutely I will, because I can’t imagine the NCAA allowing such a travesty as the vulgar Lamar buying a ticket, much less collecting hundreds of thousands at one of the greatest venues in sports. Not only do I regret the assumption … this probably due to the letters “NCAA” that are splattered on nearly every document. Unfortunately, I cannot speak for the tens of millions who talk about the Crimson Tide’s most recent “NCAA championship” this week but I can apologize for adding to an entire nation’s ignorance.

If you Google “NCAA Football Champions,” there is actually a page that comes up from the NCAA website that listed Alabama in the 2017 season and Clemson in the 2016. It lists the CPF as the “Selecting Organization” but lists the 2017 Crimson Tide team under the heading, “NCAA champions.” Later yesterday, after being assured of a correction, Stacey Osborn sent another note: “I agree that many confuse this fact which is why I wanted to follow up with you.”

Here’s how Wikipedia describes the truth:

* * *


“Division I FBS football is the only National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sport for which the NCAA does not sanction a yearly championship event. As such, it is sometimes unofficially referred to as a "mythical national championship".

“Due to the lack of an official NCAA title, determining the nation's top college football team has often engendered controversy. A championship team is independently declared by multiple individuals and organizations, often referred to as "selectors". These choices are not always unanimous. In 1969, even the President of the United States, Richard Nixon, declared a national champion, by announcing, ahead of the season-ending game between #1 Texas and #2 Arkansas, that the winner of that game would receive a plaque, from the President himself, commemorating that team as the year's national champion. Texas went on to win that game,15–14.

“While the NCAA has never officially endorsed a championship team, it has documented the choices of some selectors in its official NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records publication. In addition, various analysts have independently published their own choices for each season.”

* * *

The College Football Playoff organization, officially “CFP Administration, LLC,” website states it “manages the administrative operations of the College Football Playoff.” Members of the company are the 10 FBS conferences and the University of Notre Dame.

Further, the website identified its Board of Managers, and its Management Committee.

* * *


The company’s business, property and affairs are governed by the board of managers. The board develops, reviews and approves annual budgets, policies and operating guidelines. It also appoints and removes officers of the company. It has authority over all aspects of the company’s operations.

Eric Barron – President, Penn State University (Big Ten)

Rodney Bennett – President, University of Southern Mississippi (C-USA)

Anthony Frank – President, Colorado State University (Mountain West)

Burns Hargis – President, Oklahoma State University (Big 12)

Jack Hawkins – Chancellor, Troy University (Sun Belt)

Rev. John Jenkins – President, University of Notre Dame (Independent)

Mark Keenum – President, Mississippi State University (SEC)

Max Nikias (chair) – President, University of Southern California (Pac-12)

John Thrasher – President, Florida State University (ACC)

Satish Tripathi – President, University at Buffalo (MAC)

Gerald Turner – President, Southern Methodist University (American Athletic)

- - -


The management committee manages the day-to-day operations of the company. It has authority over those aspects of the company’s operations that are not reserved exclusively for the board, but all of its decisions are subject to review by the board.

Mike Aresco – Commissioner (American Athletic)

Karl Benson – Commissioner (Sun Belt)

Bob Bowlsby – Commissioner (Big 12)

Jim Delany – Commissioner (Big Ten)

Judy MacLeod – Commissioner (C-USA)

Greg Sankey – Commissioner (SEC)

Larry Scott – Commissioner (Pac-12)

Jon Steinbrecher – Commissioner (MAC)

Jack Swarbrick – Athletics Director (Notre Dame)

John Swofford – Commissioner (ACC)

Craig Thompson – Commissioner (Mountain West)

Company Officers (Serving at the direction of the Board of Managers)

The company president, Bill Hancock, and secretary, Michael Kelly, carry out the day-to-day operations of the company.

* * *

While I feel bold enough to claim not one of the above mentioned university and athletic leaders have any stomach to listen to Kendrick Lamar or sing-along with the filth in his hit, “Humble,” I also have no doubt that during the halftime performance two or more of these officers said the name of Lamar’s “critically acclaimed” album without consciously knowing its name: “Damn.”

During Lamar’s halftime fiasco, the rapper also performed two other hits, “DNA” and “Element.” He ended the show in front of the Centennial Park stage – just outside Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium – with -- and I quote – “All the Stars,” his new single from the “Black Panther” soundtrack, which he himself curated. (Most of the lyrics websites on Google can provide the words to all four for those who want to sing-along at home.)

President Donald Trump, constantly criticized and demeaned by Lamar, attended the first half of the game but, according to a pool reporter, did not hear nor see the halftime abomination.

The next day, however, the President did congratulate Alabama on its “NCAA championship.” I, for one, can understand why he misspoke.

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