So, one thing I wanted to do when I started this newsletter project was experiment with podcasting. The weekly rhythm of these emails will likely cover more administrative, business and political stories, but while I’m really interested in these things, I’m also interested in college football history. I’m a major advocate of the idea that events and storylines from decades ago, if not longer, really shape the CFB world of today. If nothing else, we’re certainly still arguing about the same stuff.
But it’s a bit jarring, I think, to drop in a 3,000 word essay in one of these newsletters. So for stories I want to dig into a little bit, I thought podcasting could be a fun format to experiment with.
The first podcast story covers an event that has fascinated me for a long time. Part of it is a theological angle, since it involves my church. Part of it is political, and part of it is because I think it’s one of the early examples of how a school’s response to a political event can explicitly shape the fortunes of their football program. Or hell, even the fortunes of neighboring programs.
The TL;DR of this story, called the Black 14, is that Wyoming booted 14 young men from their football program for having the audacity to ask to protest against racist religious doctrines of BYU’s sponsoring institution, the LDS church. How this came to be, how and why Wyoming responded, and what that meant for the church, and college football in the West, isn’t just an isolated story of 1960s upheaval, but also gives clues to how college football would react to protests in the future, and how, or if, anybody could possibly Stick to Sports.
This is not an exhaustive account. If you’re interested in learning even more, you could check out The Black 14: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Wyoming Football, or a series of interviews with the Wyoming State Historical Society.
The podcast is above, I believe. I hope you enjoy it.