An open letter to Boise State president Bob KustraPosted Wednesday, July 28, 2010, at 3:06 AM
Mr. Bob Kustra,
In response to your recent comments, I have four comments of my own to share with you.
"What bothers me more than anything else, is that the fans are not about denigrating our athletic program. ... What bothers me personally is the denigration of our academic programming. That's what I simply can't tolerate."
I would like to personally apologize to you for the many, many times I have made fun of Boise State's academic programming. I also send my deepest apologies to VandalNation for my role in ending a storied intrastate rivalry.
I've not only made fun of Boise State's academics, I've done so in print. Prior to the 2007 game, I used my position as the Argonaut sports editor to highlight the school's truck driving program to suggest Boise State degrees only lead to jobs in the fast food and trucker industries.
My insults did not stop there. Just last week, for no real reason at all, I made an unprovoked attack at the university by telling my facebook friends, "if law school were easy, Boise State would have one," in this note about preparing to move to Moscow to start law school next month.
Just because only 26 percent of your student body is able to graduate in six years, and five percent do so in four years, does not mean academics are not taken serious at Boise State University. These numbers, according to the school's own student newspaper, rank Boise State in the bottom of schools in the West for graduation rates, but surly that can't be an accurate representative of the university.
I'm no college president Mr. Kustra, but if I were running a school with a five percent graduation rate and a 14-0 football team, I, too, would make the football team the face of my university. Because after all, how important is graduating students at a university?
In an effort to clean up the "culture" at the University of Idaho, I hereby pledge to refrain from making fun of Boise State's academic programming, despite graduating from a school with a graduation rate more than twice that of Boise State.
To suggest the game has no value to the state or either program is ludicrous.
"I frankly don't care whether we ever play 'em again as long it goes,'' you said.
Intrastate rivalry games are about more than just the win and loss column. They are about bragging rights for the next year for the fans of the winning team. They are about "there's always next year"s for the losing team. They are a big part of the college experience.
They bring people who live nearby together for an afternoon; they give people who work together and support different schools a reason to joust each other in good fun; they make going to a close away game more meaningful. They mean traveling, can't miss games despite team records and a weekend of fun for both teams. An entire season can often hang on just one game.
Because so many Idaho fans live in the Boise area, the rivalry game is unique. There aren't many areas where such a large portion of one school's fan base lives in their biggest rival's backyard.
The game gives Idaho fans a chance to see their team without traveling every other year.
The game also gives Boise State fans a chance to see a different part of the state when the game is played in Moscow.
The game has value to the students and alumni base of both schools, no matter where the game is played. The only place the game has no value is to the Boise State athletic department's checking account.
Boise State will gain little from playing one of its few non-conference games against Idaho every year. Idaho's poor on-field performance will hurt Boise State's strength of schedule. If Boise State were to lose the game to a 4-7 Idaho team, their national ranking and BCS Bowl chances would take a big hit. They have little to gain and everything to lose in playing Idaho every year.
Scheduling Idaho every year means Boise State would lose the chance to play a non-conference game against a team like Virginia Tech, with a high payout, national exposure and great BCS Bowl implications. Boise State could also use the opening to schedule a school from another mid-major conference or a team without any Division 1 players.
Sir, if money and ranking positions are the real reason you no longer want to play an intrastate rivalry game, please just come out and say it. People like honesty. There's no need to hide behind a college reporter and try to pass the blame to her.
This would keep the rivalry alive, as opposed to just killing the tradition all together, and would ensure all student-athletes and student body members get the chance to experience the rivalry game at least once while in school. This plan would add value to the game, as there wouldn't always be a "next year."
Neither school would be tied into a game every year and the time between games would hopefully allow Idaho to take steps to become more competitive for the next game.
Idaho would also benefit from this plan, as the open schedule date would allow Idaho to take a payout game, buy an additional win or schedule an equal opponent without giving up its long-standing rivalry game.
If you do attend the game, I will be more than honored to show you around Moscow for a little bit after the game. I have no doubt that if you got to know Moscow just a tiny bit, you will find more than "a culture that is nasty and inebriated."
Thank you for your time,
Robert J. Taylor
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The idea behind Robert's Random is for me to write about whatever I'm thinking about whenever I'm thinking it. I try to write 3-5 times a week, but sometimes real work gets in the way of that. Sometimes I'll share whatever random thought I might have that day but most of the time, I like to write about things going on in the news. I'm a total news junkie, I spend a lot of time online at various news sites. If I find a story where someone does something totally stupid or I wonder "what were they thinking?" I don't mind pointing it out incase others missed it or taking my best guess at what they were thinking. I like to laugh, I like to make others laugh. There's so much serious and wrong stuff going on in the news that when I find an unusual or light story, I like to use it. And while real life news events might be the focus of many of my blogs, I'm just trying to entertain you, make you laugh and maybe even think about something you didn't know before reading. I'm not trying to break any serious news or deliver any hard-hitting coverage. You'll have to read a paper or watch one of the network shows for that.
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