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for the most part, schools happily accept their labels and even perpetuate them.

It has become common in the college sports vernacular, to refer to certain universities as "basketball schools" or "football schools", depending on which sport the school excels in the most.

Even the casual sports fan knows that the likes of Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Kansas are considered basketball schools while institutions such as Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and Clemson are football schools.

For the most part, these schools happily accept their labels and even perpetuate them by prioritizing one sport over the other. And trust me, these schools have their reasons.

For example, the Kentucky men's basketball program boasts a winning tradition that dates back to the 1940s, having won eight national titles, the second most in college basketball.

Why would Kentucky take a risk and invest considerable money, resources and time into its football program when there is no guaranteed return on the investment? For the Wildcats, basketball is the safe and smart investment. Football is a gamble. Conversely, for schools like Alabama or LSU, the opposite is true. Football is their sure bet.

With this system in place, there are very few Power 5 schools that have achieved national success in both football and men's basketball. In the history of the NCAA, only 10 schools have won a national title in both sports.

At press time, there are five universities that can currently claim both an AP Top 25 team on the gridiron and hardwood: Michigan, Wisconsin, Louisville, Florida State and West Virginia.

These polls are just a snapshot of the moment, but they display how difficult it is to cultivate both an elite football and men's basketball program at the same academic institution. Last week, I discussed how competition and proximity can help breed excellence. However, sometimes, one campus is just not big enough to house two elite teams.

If you are a top five recruit nationally for basketball, wouldn't you want to go play at Kansas where you are guaranteed to be the "big man of campus," as opposed to Alabama where you will have to compete with not only your teammates for stardom, but also the over 100 guys who play football?

However, it seems as of late, we have seen more and more so called "football schools" invest in basketball and vice versa. Here in the Upstate, Clemson, a traditional football school, just invested $63.5 million to renovate Littlejohn Coliseum for its men's and women's basketball programs.

Five-star basketball recruit John Petty just committed to Alabama over Kentucky. Oklahoma, a traditional football power, made the Final Four in both football and men's basketball last season while North Carolina played for an ACC Championship in both sports, winning the title in basketball.

At Louisville, a school known for its basketball prowess, sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson is the clear favorite to win the Heisman trophy.

With all this being said, there are some schools that just won't and probably should not try to shed their labels. Let's just say I don't foresee an elite football program springing up in Lawrence, Kansas, anytime soon or a basketball powerhouse forming in Athens, Georgia. But hey, crazier things have a happened.

for the most part, schools happily accept their labels and even perpetuate them.

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DAWSON POWERS/Contributor Clemson invested $63.5 million to renovate Littlejohn Coliseum.
November 29, 2016


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