Davidson College. The Wildcats just knocked off Wisconsin in the Sweet 16. They are now one win away from the Final Four.

Davisdon is a liberal arts college outside Charlotte, North Carolina. Enrollment: 1700. Endowment: a shade under $500M. Rated as one of the “New Ivies” by Newsweek. Ranked top 20 in four different categories by the Princeton Review. Has a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. And oh look, there they are in the Big Dance. Sunday night, they will be playing in front of a national television audience all by themselves for a shot at the third weekend of the tournament.

It doesn’t look like academic success has imperiled their athletics. And it sure doesn’t look like their athletics (10 trips to the tournament since 1966, including the last three seasons in a row) have done any harm to their academics. And now, they have the kind of publicity money can’t buy as everyone in the country with a bracket asks “Who the hell is Davidson!?”

You can do both. No matter how small, no matter how selective, there is no reason you can’t compete at the highest levels both academically and athletically. A lot of schools could, but they won’t. Some just don’t care enough about sports. Some just don’t care enough about academics. Some just don’t have the will to make an effort. And some of them, like a flea-speck garbage heap in the west end of Birmingham, Alabama, would rather try to persuade you that taking a great big shit on their athletes will make them a superior academic institution.

You say you haven’t heard of Birmingham-Southern College? How would you have heard of them? WHY would you have heard of them? WHY SHOULD you hear of them?

No reason. Plain and simple. There is no reason to hear of them. Because they’d rather be safe and happy in their own little bubble, slapping each other on the back and telling themselves how great they are. And if you’re willing to spend the rest of your life in their bubble, you might even come to believe they’re right.

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