A panel composed of members of the university's music department selected the composition submitted by Ethelred Lundy "Epp" Sykes from more than a dozen songs that were submitted.
Sykes - an engineering student who was also the editor of The Crimson White -
was awarded the $50 prize provided the magazine and "Messrs. Carmer, Friedman and Pickens." The song was unveiled in the May 1926 edition of the Rammer Jammer with the admonition:
"RAMMER-JAMMER has no power to make the student body accept the song. We do ask that the song be played on every occasion in which a battle march is needed, and, if it is liked, for the students to accept it."
Sykes attended Alabama on a four year engineering scholarship from the Alabama Power Company after coming in second for a scholarship offered by the Birmingham News. After graduating in 1926, Sykes studied law for a year at UA then became an account executive with Sparrow Advertising Agency in Birmingham.
In 1940 Sykes was called into active duty by the U.S. Air Force. He served in both World War II and the Korea conflict, eventually rising to the rank of Brigadier General. In 1947 he donated the copyright and future royalties of "Yea Alabama" to the University of Alabama. He died on July 1, 1967.