The way Paul Finebaum views it, the Southeastern Conference wouldn’t mean much without superfans like Luke Ratliff.

If you missed the tragic news, the heart and soul of Alabama’s student section recently passed. Following the news, an outpouring of support has been sent Ratliff’s way.

During Finebaum’s most recent appearance on Birmingham-based WJOX 94.5 FM radio show The Roundtable, the ESPN host was asked to share his thoughts on Ratliff’s passing.

“Well, I saw and have listened to so many comments from what Cecil Hurts said initially, to what (Alabama AD) Greg (Byrne), and what Nate Oats said and countless others, and I think this is the personification of what we do here and really what the conference on a larger scale represents.

“We’ve all experienced it – and I’m not going to detail the times, the callers that we all know, that have passed away but what Luke represents is that every man and every woman out there who really, to me, has always been more important than anything else. And I know you guys agree with that because we’ve all worked together at the same station and have similar – the shows are different but we have similar interests, in terms of representing the fan.

And I think too often in college athletics, those at the top line forget about the common ingredient that makes this such a great endeavor and that’s fans like Luke or Tammy or Shane or countless others that don’t have the notoriety and don’t get the send-off. But I think everyone can relate to those. It’s an absolutely tragedy and I was overjoyed even in the tragedy of the situation to see the reaction.

“I mean it is a terrible loss, but to see so many people outpouring, the outpouring of so many people, paying beautiful respects to me, is encouragement to everyone out there that they do have a voice. Even as the tickets for the sport become more expensive and their proximity to the field becomes more distant for fans.”