Written By Edward Sutelan
ESPN analyst Greg McElroy didn't take too kindly to Kayvon Thibodeaux's thoughts on the education at the University of Alabama.
During an interview at the national championship game, Thibodeaux said that there is a "stigmatism" — though he meant stigma — around football players "being dumb jocks" and a stigma about the education at Alabama, and said he was concerned that if he went there, he wasn't sure whether his degree would mean anything.
On "McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning," McElroy, an Alabama graduate, pushed back on his claim, challenging him first for his usage of "stigmatism" over stigma and saying that "he sounds like a dumb jock."
"What I don't understand is why he felt the need to cut down Alabama," McElroy said on his radio show with Cole Cubelic. "And as someone who has always taken his academic situation very seriously, I'll just come at him with this — if he'd like to take an IQ test, I'm available. If he'd like to take the Wonderlic test, I'm available. As a proud graduate with multiple degrees from Alabama, I will put my degree up against his any day of the week."
Thibodeaux was being interviewed during the College Football Playoff championship game on Monday with Fox's Joel Klatt, and was asked about why he chose Oregon over the Crimson Tide. He said that the education at Alabama "ain't the West Coast."
He was also asked about whether he knew that all of the recruiting classes at Alabama had won a title, and Thibodeaux said that while it is important, he said, "Hopefully they've all still got jobs and stuff after."
Thibodeaux almost certainly won't have to worry too much about jobs after college, as he is currently projected as one of the top two, if not the No. 1 prospect, in the 2022 NFL Draft class.
"What people don’t realize is that football is an American sport. So, no matter how great Alabama is, you only play football in America, Canada and a couple other places," Thibodeaux told Klatt. "But a brand like Nike, I mean, for me it was like what brand associations do I want to be tied to? For me, I already hate the stigmatism of football players being dumb jocks. Do you know the stigmatism of Alabama education? It ain’t the West Coast. It ain’t Harvard."
Thibodeaux also said that he didn't like Saban's pitch of telling athletes that he would say when they're ready to play as opposed to when players believe they are ready.
Thibodeaux also later seemed to push back on Twitter to those correcting him for using "stigmatism" over "stigma."
McElroy explained that when he was being recruited, he had offers from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke, Stanford, Northwestern, Vanderbilt and most Ivy League schools. In 2010, while a senior at Alabama, McElroy was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship, which is awarded to 102 postgraduate students looking to attend the University of Oxford.
McElroy finished as an undergraduate in three years, earning a 3.85 GPA in business marketing, which earned him magna cum laude. At the NFL combine, he scored a 43 on the Wonderlic test, a test similar to the IQ test used by NFL scouts to test the smarts of the athletes in the draft. Ryan Fitzpatrick has the highest ever by a quarterback at 48, while punter Pat McInally is the only known player with a perfect score of 50.
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"I just take real personal offense, man," McElroy said. "I genuinely do. I don't care. Don't come. If you think so little of us, don't come. Fine by me, because I know the people that live in this state. I chose Alabama because I love Alabama.
"If you don't want to see Alabama for the greatness it can potentially provide you, it's on you. You're missing out."