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Students at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa can study college football for credit.
During the term between its spring semester and summer school, the university offered a course called "College Football U.S.A."
"During the interim session, there are a lot of classes taught that are off the beaten path," says Ed Frost, the associate professor who taught the three-credit class. "I've taught a class on American folk music before because it's a hobby of mine," he adds.
Mr. Frost, who usually teaches Russian literature, says the course was inspired by his love of football and by his experiences as a sportswriter while he was an undergraduate. In the course, he chronicled the development of college football since the 19th century.
Hank Lazer, the university's assistant vice-president for undergraduate programs and services, says the class "gives people a chance to study a specific area in depth."
But Jerry Martin, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a conservative advocacy group based in Washington, calls the class "junk food for the mind."
"It's a good example of the new trend for colleges to offer classes that are narrow and trivial," he says. "Employers say students can't write. How is this class going to help them?"