For you college football fans out there that might have missed it last weekend, tiny Wofford College of Spartanburg, SC, got a good old-fashioned butt whuppin’ at the hands of Big 12 power Baylor University, 69-3.
No surprise there, as Baylor plays big-time Division I football alongside the likes of Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, while Wofford is a small private school whose opponents include Presbyterian College, Appalachian State University and Furman University.
And while Wofford has fielded strong teams in recent years – the Terriers were 9-4 last year and made the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs – it has little chance of competing against the likes of Baylor, currently ranked No. 23 in the nation, just behind Nebraska and just ahead of TCU.
But it’s apparent that the folks who run the Terrier football program understand their job is about more than just Xs and Os. Not only does Wofford place a premium on academics, but it also appears to stress character, as well.
A Baylor alumnus who attended last weekend’s game at Waco, Texas, was so impressed with the Terriers’ sportsmanship in defeat that she wrote the Spartanburg newspaper to express her admiration.
“I wanted to say that Wofford has the classiest football team I have seen in a long time,” wrote Linda Wood. “The team stood on the field at the end for a very long time while the Baylor band played our school song. Very impressive and a classy move, especially after suffering a loss. These young men have been taught a great deal more than just football. I was, as were so many in attendance, very impressed.”
After the end of each Baylor game, the Bears meet together in prayer, Wood continued:
“… The opposing team is always invited to join our team. Usually some do, but (Wofford’s) entire team joined ours. It was after the prayer that they stood so respectfully,” she added. “… That team NEVER gave up. They fought as hard at 69 to 3 as they did at 0 to 0. What else can I say? Classy team, classy program. God bless them all. Great sportsmanship.”
We’ll never return to the days of old-time college athletics, to the days before big-time money and big-time television made many programs into financial powerhouses and turned athletes into campus idols who viewed college courses as a necessary evil to be endured as they strived for the pros.
But it’s good to know that there are some places where sportsmanship and character are still taught, and still being embraced by those on the receiving end of the lessons.
(Top: Wofford, left, lines up against Baylor during last Saturday’s game in Waco, Texas.)