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Mr. Jefferson has had about enough of this

An unsolicited open letter from the founder of the University regarding the weekend's football contest.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

November 9, 2015

Dear Sirs,

It is with great consternation that I do correspond with you on the grave matter of the abomination I witnessed two days prior. While I believe wholeheartedly that the University of Miami is a fine educational establishment fit to instruct the grandsons of energetic British settlers that came to Florida after the Spanish traded it to the English crown like a unneeded packmule, and that the dedication to the tropical studies certainly befits its location, I find that I am most perplexed how a school founded over a hundred years after our noble establishment could so confound our student representatives on the football field. Have we not an institutional memory? Are the learned strategies of warfare found in our voluminous libraries of no use to the men who guide these fine students?

I must inquire as to the following specific matters:

  • I found myself dumbfounded to see members of the opposing host frequently running with reckless abandon beyond our borders like nomadic fur trappers, unbound by any attachment to the land. Do we not have any man amongst the student body possessing similar talent to those displayed by our adversaries?
  • I have noticed on numerous occasions that the faculty advising our gridders have requested the young men usually given the honorable task of guarding the ball thrower to depart their station and venture forth like rugged settlers into untamed western country of Kentucky. They depart in hopes of protecting a ball carrier at a future moment, and yet are often beset on all sides by the defending forces before any such progress can be made. I would welcome an explanation at length about why this course of action is a prudent one that should be continued in light of all the accumulated evidence to the contrary.
  • While you will find no greater supporter of charity than myself, I must refer to my good friend Benjamin Franklin's sound advice against being a lender, especially of field position. The rules of any and all games are easily found in a rulebook that I must assume is distributed to all contestants prior to the commencement of the season. Have our students not been required to have this book memorized, with daily recitation to prove compliance? If not, I demand this practice begin at once.

Gentlemen, I am rightly concerned about the future of this foot-ball enterprise. From my view atop Monticello, I could make out that the amphitheater in which the University hosts these contests was nary half full a week ago when the Georgia School of Technology visited. I do not need to point out that a half filled coliseum is a tragic waste of a valuable asset. If these seats continue to remain unfilled, than I submit that the University would be better served to cease these athletic contests and use such a facility for oratorical demonstrations that would surely fill all the available seats. Who among us would not  clamor at the opportunity to hear the leading thinkers of our time address a crowd of over 60,000 like-minded individuals for three or four hours in a seating?Surely this would be a profitable enterprise for the University.

I remain ready to assist in the organization of such an undertaking, if so directed.

Your humble servant,

Thomas Jefferson