Outgoing Illinois Institute of Technology President Alan W. Cramb is inviting Scottish Premiership team Celtic Football Club to campus for a week-long training camp and scrimmage with the Illinois Tech men’s soccer team, according to a university press release. Cramb has been a fan of the better Glasgow team since childhood.
“Ah hae bin saving up mah ludicrous, insane, truly absurdly lairge president’s salary fur th' lest year tae pay fur this occasion,” Cramb admitted, who will be paying for this entire affair out-of-pocket. Cramb will be covering one-weeks wage of all players — adding up to a sum just shy of $500,000 — as well as an additional $340,000 in travel, lodging, food, equipment, and even marketing for the affair. After one week of training, the two teams will play a semi-competitive scrimmage at Stuart Field, which Cramb hopes to have as much in-person attendance as allowed.
The cost of this event adds up to almost $840,000, or a full year’s salary for Cramb, who claims he hasn’t spent a cent of this salary in the last 12 months to pay for this. Instead, Cramb told TechNews that he has been living off of his sparse bonuses — upwards of $45,000 a year — and $5 he steals from every student’s undergraduate tuition.
“Ah practically grew up at Celtic Park,” Cramb responded when asked what drove him to this decision. “Ah loved aff tae games wi' mah gran as a wee lad,” he continued. Cramb expressed excitement about where the team is headed, as well as admiration for some of the club’s past performances and late greats. When asked about Rangers Football Club, Celtic's rivals who are also situated in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, the Scotsman grew anxious.
“Ah would fire [Vice Provost Student Affairs Katherine] Stetz or [Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Peter] Kilpatrick if ah ever fun oot thay wur a Rangers fan. Ah dinnae care if it's th' lest thing ah dae. Ah wouldn’t even care if thay fired me fur it,” Cramb professed when asked about his crosstown rivals. Both teams have enormous fanbases within the city, which only fuels their rivalry. The two clubs regularly compete for the title of the Scottish Premiership; in the last 120 years of the league, either Celtic or Rangers have won the league 101 times, with all other teams combined only comprising 19 championships. The two clubs’ stadiums are five miles from each other. For comparison, the distance from the White Sox home field to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, is 10 miles.
Support for the two clubs is split along a number of societal fault lines. Celtic draws support from communities more aligned with direct Scottish or Irish ethnicity, identity, or nationality while Rangers trends more conservative and pro-English or pro-British Union. Celtic also trends Catholic while Rangers trends Protestant, though none of these divisions are universal or quite so clear-cut.
Inviting Rangers to Stuart Field would be an insult to Illinois Tech’s men’s soccer team, according to Cramb. “Thay hae nuthin’ tae learn fae thaim,” Cramb professed, implying the Illinois Tech men’s team to be already better than the professional Scottish side. Cramb may be right.