|Tuesday, December 10
Tide fans taking out anger on Fran bobbleheads
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Coach Fran's bobbling head may be rolling for some Alabama fans.
More than 4,000 bobblehead dolls of former Alabama coach Dennis Franchione, who left abuptly for Texas A&M last week, remain unsold. Joseph Turner, president of Yell Crew, the Crimson Tide's football fan association, says some students are getting the little statues and breaking them.
"They don't have a lot of sentimental value any more,'' said Turner, 21. "Me and my girlfriend are going to get a little rope and hang it down from the side of her balcony with a sign that says, 'Sell out.'''
Eleven thousand Coach Fran bobblehead dolls with a white shirt were given out and sold as part of a fast-food restaurant promotion. Another 5,000 dolls, with Crimson Tide red shirts, were bought by the university this fall for sale as part of a limited edition series.
Only a couple hundred sold, leaving university officials looking for new options now that Franchione has left and is viewed by some fans in a negative light for not telling his players in person about his decision to leave.
Paul Isom, director of the university's Office of Student Media, said the office was offered 4,000 of the dolls at $3 apiece, but the university withdrew the idea and the office decided against it, too.
"We considered all sorts of things, like giving people a driver, yelling 'fore!' and letting them tee off on them for five bucks a pop, but we had a couple of reservations about it,'' he told the Birmingham Post-Herald in a story Tuesday.
He said the student newspaper, The Crimson-White, has finished publishing for the semester, making bobblehead bashing hard to promote.
"And it might come across as being too mean-spirited,'' Isom said.
One thousand of the dolls are being auctioned on one of the university's Web sites, www.rolltideauction.com, but interest has been minimal. Alabama officials have even asked Texas A&M's marketing department about buying some of the dolls, but eventually any dolls still around will probably be destroyed.
Daniel Hopper, director of the university's athletic marketing department, said that might make a winner of those who got a red-shirted Fran bobblehead.
"It's going to be a truly unique collectible,'' Hopper said. "It's probably hard to find something more limited out there.''