History of College Football (HY 290/390)

HistoryTime: T/TH 10:20 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.
Instructor: Glenn Feldman

This class will explore the fascinating world of college football: the great teams, dynasties, coaches, players, pageantry, and the game's great and enduring rivalries. More, we will explore the origins of the game, how it has developed historically, what the introduction of big money, advertising, and sponsorships have meant to the game.

Dartmouth football team, 1901. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress. Dartmouth football team, 1901. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress. We will also delve into the seamier side of college football: recruitment scandals, grade-changing scandals, the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, injuries and the issue of players playing with injuries and the long-term effects of concussions and other injuries on players, rules violations, the role of the NCAA, crime among players and coaches and its cover-up, and the big-time business nature of college football in America.

All in all it should be a fascinating ride into one of the most important expressions of popular culture in modern America.

A Note from Dr. Feldman:

This is a class I've been thinking about doing for the past two years or so. I realize news organizations might be tempted to make a tie with UAB's football program being closed down but this is not — and never has been part of — my reasoning or interest in offering the class. Given that college football is a religion in the South, the course is aimed at the history of the game itself and its cultural implications — in a long-term sense, not just the past few months and not just UAB.

As always, students will be free to bring up whatever topics they want in class, and there will be a research component to the class wherein students may research and present on topics they are interested in. I, however, do not plan to make the subject of UAB football a central part of the class.