No, Pat Dye, You Don’t Have to be a Man to Understand Football


I’m from Alabama, y’all. There are a few things we’re known for here: The Civil Rights Movement, Ridiculous politicians, Bumbling, misogynistic idiots, and College Football.

We Bama girls take college football seriously. I am confident I could go toe-to-toe with the vast majority of male college football fans when it comes to the lore of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Many of us follow recruiting, our coach’s press briefings, and spend Saturdays in the fall glued to the television, following teams across the country, cheering or jeering their quarterbacks, and rooting on other teams (only when it’s advantageous for us).

Last week, when Former Secretary of State (and National Security Advisor, Alabama native, accomplished pianist, provost of Standford University, and one of the only two female members of the Augusta National Golf Club) Condoleezza Rice was named to the committee that will decide the participants in the upcoming College Football Playoff system, most Alabamians cheered.

But one, former Auburn University head coach Pat Dye, had this to say on the matter:

“All she knows about football is what somebody told her…To understand football, you’ve got to play with your hand in the dirt…how in the hell does she know what it’s like out there when you can’t get your breath and it’s 110 degrees and the coach asks you to go some more?”

Full disclosure, I am an alumna and rabid fan of the University of Alabama, Auburn’s mortal enemy and frequent task master. But regardless of any personal vendettas I may have against Auburn and their alcoholic former coach, Dye should be thoroughly scolded for his ignorant comments.

First things first, no matter your political affiliations, Condi Rice is undeniably a complete badass. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, she finished her undergraduate degree cum laude at 19, obtained a PhD in Political Science at age 26. You probably know the rest of her story. She is even on record saying that her dream job would be commissioner of the NFL. Her academic and political career show that she is undoubtedly one of the most important and brilliant women, much less minority women, of our time. She also happens to be a big fan of sports, including college football.

As one (male) Facebook friend of mine pointed out,

“You mean to tell me that a person who was Secretary of State for the United States of America isn’t qualified to be on a college football playoff selection committee? That’s like saying a man can’t be an OBGYN because he could never experience childbirth.”

The NCAA made a good decision in choosing Condoleezza Rice, who, in addition to being a faculty member at a school with one of the more successful football programs of the last decade (Stanford), she is one of the most accomplished and intelligent people, much less women, of her generation. Her level of intelligence is one not often seen by the likes of men such as Pat Dye; he did decide to coach for Auburn, after all.