There are more than a few football fans in Mississippi and rivalry within the state is intense. None is more intense or more colorful than the rivalry among the state’s 14 community colleges, formerly called junior colleges. Fans, former players and coaches and alumni can read all about it in the Mississippi Sports Council’s recent publication, “Mississippi JUCOs…The Toughest Football League In America.” The book was written by the Frascogna father-and-son trio who has authored other books about the fascinating football culture in Mississippi.
“Mississippi is one of the few states with a junior college football system that is highly competitive nationally every year,” said Kamel King, publicist for the book. “A significant number of Division I players come from the Mississippi JUCO football program each year. This book chronicles the schools, players and coaches who make Mississippi JUCO football the toughest league in America.”
He added that the book has great photos along with some cartoons by noted cartoonist Marshall Ramsay.
X.M. Frascogna Jr., says the state’s JUCO football is one of the oldest and most colorful leagues in the country. “Tucked away in Mississippi — arguably the most rabid football state of all — is a self-contained, highly unique football ecosystem,” he said. “The Mississippi JUCO football league, or as the locals refer to it, JUCO ball, or simply the League, consists of 14 junior college all inside the boundaries of Mississippi.”
On the surface the League has the characteristics of any small college football conference one might find at the NCAA Division II or III levels. However, upon closer examination it’s a fascinating athletic subculture. “Depending on one’s perspective, JUCO ball could be described as a league wrapped in violence and brutality, a vicious athletic underworld,” he said, “but to most of the players matriculating through the JUCO League, it is football Nirvana.”
JUCO football has produced literally thousands of players who have gone on to compete at the NCAA Division I and professional levels, and the number of players who play at four-year colleges is staggering. Even more impressive is the large percentage of the coaching profession who are graduates of the JUCO program.
“Love it or despise it, Mississippi JUCO ball is unique,” Frascogna said. “From National Championship games, All-American players, famous hard-nosed coaches, crazy traditions and big time rivalries, this book will explain why it’s the Toughest Football League in America.”