Stu Woo and Sara Germano | Jan. 4, 2013 | The Wall Street Journal
The most-often cited measures for the integrity and academic seriousness of a college football program are things like graduation rates, academic progress rates and whether or not the school has been sanctioned by the NCAA. What's rarely noted is something more basic: Whether these players, many years after leaving campus, think the experience of playing football for their schools made a positive impact on their lives.
Notre Dame won its last national title in 1988. Alabama won a title four years later, in 1992. What these teams have in common, beyond Monday's rematch, is that many of their players are now well into their 40s and pursuing life after football. In interviews over the last month, 30 members of these teams offered a wide range of opinions on many fronts. But in nearly all cases, they agreed on one point: Success in life, however they define it, came to them at least partly because of—rather than in spite of—playing football.