What's all this, then?
The University of North Alabama's board of trustees has voted to elevate the school's NCAA Division II athletics program to Division I-AA. The Lions' eventual goal is membership in the Ohio Valley Conference.
People like money.
UNA plans a six-year transition period to Division I, beginning with the 2011-2012 academic year. The transition will include a sequence for increases in funding for new athletics scholarships and operational expenses. Six primary funding sources will be utilized, including private donations of $500,000 each year as well as gradual increases in new corporate donations, game guarantees, ticket sales, NCAA academic and enhancement funds and a student athletics fee.
Is the blank black page on the University's official website where this news is announced in any way symbolic?
Wait, didn't this already happen?
That's South Alabama, which is attempting a greater daredevil leap from no program at all to I-A competition.
Why might the UNA be familiar to me, the average college football fan?
The Lions' primary claim to fame is a three-year streak of D-II national titles, from 1993 to 1995. They also play their games in the despairingly-named Braly Municipal Stadium, a 14,000-seat joint which also hosts the Division II title game each winter.
Does the school have any infamous alumni or an easily mockable nickname I, the average college football fan, can store away for eventual trash talk when they end up in the WAC in ten years?
Not unless you want to call them TUNA or tie them to silent film actress Una Merkel. Sorry.
Ugh, fine. What's to love about the Lions, then?
Their mascots, for a start. UNA boasts the nation's only campus-kept live lion mascots, Leo III and Una. Their rock-slapping tradition, for another, which ESPN will love unless ESPN's parent company decides to sue the purple pants off the school. Pride Rock is also carried with the team to away games, which you have to respect.
Aren't you forgetting something rather important?
That Terry Bowden (THAT Terry Bowden, of THOSE Bowdens) is entering his third year as head coach of the Lions? Saved the best news for last, cheri.
What's with the all-caps determiners?
Oh, just a little carryover from Terry's official school bio, which tells us that T-Bow "was born into THE most famous and successful college football coaching family."
Wait a damn second, why does Terry Bowden's official bio say he "did postgraduate work at Oxford University?" Terry Bowden went to Oxford?!
This news upset me at least as much as it does you, I assure you.
And speaking of the Bowden family, isn't that ...
Jeffy! It is, indeed. Jeff Bowden coaches wide receivers at North Alabama.
If Jeff Bowden went by "Jeffy" professionally like the internet wants him to, do you think he'd have a better career track record?
So how does Terry "College Boy" Bowden expect to pull recruits from the most high-profile college football region in the country into Florence, Alabama?
Easy. He's pulling all the washouts from neighboring SEC schools and Florida State into his laboratory and remaking them in his image.
There are 49 transfer athletes on that list.
And that's just the 2010 roster! To that number you can add Janoris Jenkins, whom you might have heard used to play a little organized ball down Gainesville way.
Are you sorry you said North Alabama wasn't even the good directional Alabama now?
Now that I know Terry Bowden's fielding a roster full of I-A disciplinary washouts and live lion mascots, kinda, yeah.
For real, is Terry Bowden a wizard?
UNA's creed, "Veritas Lux. Orbis Terrarum," means "Truth and light of the world." Is Terry Bowden the truth and light of the world? The fact that the preceding sentence even got typed is evidence enough in favor of his sorcery, yes.