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Searching for Cornzizzle

- May 25, 2024

In an ever-broadening search for ways to pay for college, Drew Gallagher finds himself in South Carolina, where cornhole now rivals the Clemson-South Carolina football game in popularity.

In one of my other unpaid performances in life, I am a high school baseball coach. Being a humorist and drinker of beer helps in that capacity.

At a recent baseball game, we were the opponent for the other team’s senior night, so their seniors were introduced and then accompanied by parents and family to the middle of the field where the announcer dutifully recounted their accomplishments both on and off the ballfield. The announcer then spoke of their future plans and wishes to become tycoons of industry, masters of their domain, and cornhole players.

Unbeknownst to me, cornhole playing is now an actual thing, with Winthrop University in South Carolina breaking the glass ceiling and becoming the first Division 1 college to offer cornhole scholarships. One of the opposing baseball players was headed to Winthrop in a few months to become a member of the cornhole team.

Apparently the incoming Eagles’ class of cornholers is loaded because they have already bagged two of the biggest recruits in the nation from Colorado with $20,000 scholarships. One of those recruits was delighted at the prospect of free college in an interview he gave to The National Desk.

“I believe that we’ll get college paid for all four years because NIL, we can make so much money off that,” said Jaxson Remmick referencing the Name, Image, and Likeness money that is now available to college athletes.

“First year, maybe we won’t make the full scholarship off NIL, but sophomore through senior year, we’ll make so much money off NIL.”

One has to find Jaxson’s optimism infectious, but I’m not sure that Budweiser can sponsor underage athletes. I am sure, however, that beer companies will be lining up to have 21-and-above cornholers hold and consume their beverages during competitions with NIL compensation.

The possibilities are only limited by one’s imagination and the number of beer brands. Rest in Peace Keystone Ice.

(Before you flood the FXBG Advance email address with complaints that the resident humorist does not take cornhole seriously, please understand that if I could have gone to Mary Washington College on a beanbag toss scholarship, I most certainly would have. And I would have let Mickey’s Malt Liquor and Keystone Light both emblazon my Billy Squier t-shirt and Umbro soccer shorts with their logos. Editor’s Note: Drew – you’re safe. The editorial staff doesn’t take cornhole seriously, either. However, if the American Cornhole Association [yeah, it’s a real thing] wishes to advertise with us, I’ll happily put cornhole in my driveway – just as soon as the check cashes.

Remmick recognized that not all cornhole players at Winthrop were getting scholarships because Winthrop blew all of the scholarship money on Remmick and fellow Coloradoan Gavin Hamann to lure them to four years of school in Rock Hill, South Carolina—Charlotte’s biggest South Carolina suburb. But as he noted with the cock-eyed optimism of a youth, getting to go to college to toss bean bags from nine yards away, the sponsorship opportunities are there for every athlete even though cornhole is not an NCAA sanctioned sport. It appears that most of Winthrop’s niche sports scholarships go to the esports team which features 42 full-ride scholarships and already has two national championships to its name. (Winthrop won national championships in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and League of Legends. No sofas were burned on campus during the raucous celebration because those same couches are vital to the success of the esports teams while sitting through the grueling rounds of video games and sun deprivation.)

I’d like to pause for a moment so all parents can reflect upon the above numbers as they relate to niche sports scholarships at a small university in South Carolina that many of you may have never heard of. My parents refused to buy us an Atari or an Odyssey video game system when we were growing up and made me and my brother read books and play outdoors instead. And when we did play outdoors we certainly did not play bean bag toss because we would get beat up by other kids and tossed into the nearest body of water.

So though I might be able to tell you why Meursault was put to death in The Stranger by Albert Camus (he refuses to lie), my inability to kick ass at Asteroids or Pac Man likely cost me a full ride to a university that “provides personalized and challenging undergraduate, graduate, and continuing professional education programs of national caliber within a context dedicated to public service to the nation and to the State of South Carolina,” according to the school’s website.

With the increasing popularity of games you can play in your backyard, cable television is drawing dangerously close to the need for ESPN The Ocho. Flashlight tag is being considered for its debut at the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028 along with sneaking warm beer from Dad’s stash in the garage to share with your friends between games of Wiffleball. 

(Sorry, I’m being informed that ESPN The Ocho is already a thing and available on the ABC app. It recently featured the Pillow Fighting Championships for both men and women. It’s difficult to be a timely humorist when the absurdity of the world is running in real time.)

Obviously, what Winthrop University is attempting to do is to draw attention to its little slice of heaven and maybe attract a few students that aspire to be the best cornholer at their next family reunion. And it’s hard to argue that this publicity stunt is not working when a Virginia humorist has leapt headfirst down that rabbit, er, cornhole for a column. As the school motto states: “Truth with Liberty and Dirty Roll Ups!”

(The Card Cellar at 915 Caroline Street does not sell cornhole accessories but it does carry some pretty cool backpacks that a serious cornhole player could use to take their bean bags from competition to competition. And those backpacks are much cheaper than the official American Cornhole Association Weekend Warrior backpack for sale at a mere $95.00. Please note that athletic expenses do not qualify for 529 plans, but bean bags might since they are non-athletic. Check with your financial planner.)

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