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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

An open letter to Boise State president Bob Kustra

Posted 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.

1.Part of the reason you would not like to see the rivalry game continued is because Idaho fans question the integrity of your school's academic programs.

"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.

2.Respectfully, you are wrong to act as if you and football coach Chris Peterson are suddenly bigger than a rivalry game that has been played every year since 1971. Rivalry games are special in college football and intrastate rival games are even more so.

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.

3.There's a really simple solution you and Idaho president M. Duane Nellis --and your athletic directors --should employ after Boise State's move to the Mountain West Conference makes an annual game a thing of the past: instead of playing the game every year, agree to schedule the game once every three to five years.

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.

4.You mentioned you and your wife no longer travel to Moscow for games. This is unfortunate. Moscow is a great community and college town. I ask that you reconsider your position and attend the November 12 game this year, as it could be the end of a fantastic tradition and as Boise State's president, you should be there.

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

Showing comments in chronological order
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Your response to Dr. Kustra is a prime example of why Dr Kustra and most Boise State fans do not care to continue playing the BSU/Idaho game every year. It's not that we care about being insulted because that is part of the rivalry. We get that. Boise State fans insult Idaho fans as well; however it is not nealy to the same degree that it is done in Moscow. It's just that we can't stand the arrogance of the typical Idaho student/alumnus. The arrogance is part of the culture that is referred to in Dr Kustra's comments, even though he didn't say it is so many words. Idaho fans somehow think they are better and that the University is better than Boise State even though BSU has outgrown Idaho in the growth of academics and athletics over the past 40 years. And the jealousy over that growth (especially over the last 15 years) is waht fuels your hate for Boise State. You can't accept the fact that Boise State is outgrowing Idaho and has become the major university in Idaho. Idaho would be a much smaller institution if not for the protection by the Board of Education which, until recent years, slowed the growth of Boise State programs (engineering comes to mind) until there were finally some on the Board that were more favorable towards Boise State. Boise State will continue to outgrow Idaho and that eats away at the Vandals.

It does not make any sense to continue to play Idaho, especially in Moscow. You have a 16,000-seat stadium that you cannot fill except for once every other year for the BSU game. That is because Idaho fans don't care about any other game except that game. If that goes away then what do you have? Nothing. If the fans and alumni cared about the program they would travel there for home games and fill the stadium so that you could grow the program and build a larger stadium and new facilities that would in turn help the entire athletic program grow. That's what Boise State has been doing for the past 40 years. They built a basketball facility, enlarged the stadium, built an indoor practice facility, a new tennis facility, soccer and softball facilities and a new track facility is under construction. At the same time they have also built new academic buildings, renovated several others and enlarged programs. And they continue to do so. Boise State is growing and improving every year and Idaho is not. And that is because the funding that is required for growth is not being provided to the U of I, And that is also because nobody cares, especially about the athletic department. If the alumni or other supporters cared they would support it. Be proud of your university, like we all are proud of the place we went to college. But just like you will never like Boise State, I and most other Boise State fans will feel the same way about the U of I. We could not care less about that place or about continuing to play them in football, even in Boise.

And regarding why Dr Kustra doesn't go to Moscow for the games, it's for the same reason that most BSU fans don't go. Cars are frequently damaged and nealy always treated rudely. And you have to listen to the vulgar comments that Idaho students seem to be so proud of. I know there are some here in Boise that do the same to Idaho fans, but it is not even on the same scale same as BSU people have to put up with in Moscow. I have friends that send their kids to U of I and they have their cars damaged when they go to visit. You don't see that here in Boise. If the problems were not so bad then why do so many complain about it, even Dr Kustra? Paul J. Schneider said he has the same problems and said he doesn't drive his own car there for that very reason. He is an Idaho alum.

The bottom line is, most BSU fans don't care about the game and could not care less if we ever play it again. There is no good reason to continue. Tradition is not a reason, if it were we would be playing Idaho State every year. I enjoy the rivalry with Nevada and Fresno better than the game with Idaho. The Vandals need the game becaue they have nothing else. The Broncos do not need it and do not want it.

I hope this year is the last!!

-- Posted by blue1der on Wed, Jul 28, 2010, at 9:25 AM

I live in Boise and love Boise, as well as the state of Idaho. However, I'm not from this part of the country, originally. I attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. At the risk of insulting my neighbors I must point out that to the rest of the country, neither the University of Idaho nor BSU are particularly great universities.

I've read that U of I is a Tier III school which is by its definition, average. (I realize that this is not an "end-all / be-all" metric but since it is an aggregation of a school's academic reputation by university officials across the country, it counts for something.) By all accounts, BSU is not in the same league as U of I.

My point is that watching alumni from an average school mocking alumni from a below average school seems a bit funny. It is equivalent to the C students at school arguing with the D students over which group is actually smarter. The point is moot.

I don't have a vested interest in seeing this rivalry continue. Again, I am not from this area. However, I would like to see it continue solely because of it's tradition, albeit a fairly recent one, and am a bit surprised at Kustra's ( and Peterson's ) flippant dismissal of its importance to Idahoans.

-- Posted by joejoejoe on Wed, Jul 28, 2010, at 9:32 AM

Comments made by athletic staff are a good example of inflated egos and swelled heads. Personally I think there is WAY to much empahsis put on BSU football anyway. I think BSU dogging on the traditional game is wrong. But like it was said before, It doesnt benefit BSU financially and it sure doesnt benefit the BSU football programs egos. Who really cares anyway....win or lose, its not the end of the world like most fans treat it!

-- Posted by bloodyknuckles on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 8:37 AM

I too received my degree from an out of state college, which was ranked 17 out of 163 baccalaureate colleges in the southern U.S., I think it is funny that Robert rants on about 2 loser colleges in a state that doesn't even have a Medical College.

-- Posted by idahogeek52 on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 8:47 AM

It just goes to show what BSUs priorities are. If they spent as much money on academics as they spend on football they would be as good or better than U of I. That's all BSU is, a well paid for football program with a smattering of academics just to be able to justify calling themselves a "University".

-- Posted by idcowboy1 on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 5:02 PM

To start I am a Boise State Student and Bronco Football fan. In fact I probably know more about Boise State Football than anyone (simply due to the fact that I have spent years researching the history of the team). Yes, the two teams have played every year since 1971; the rivalry started in 1934.

In what many of the Vandal freshman team considered a homecoming game, the Broncos sent them back to Moscow with a shutout score(6-0). The Broncos of the Junior College went on to hold a 5-7-0 record over the Vandal Frosh from '34-'64.

On September 11, 1971, the Broncos were able to show that they would dominate the Regular Vandal team in the same manner. Other than a 12 year losing streak to the Vandals the Broncos have done just that. This year the Broncos will finish off a 12 year winning streak, with a record 22-17-1.

I do not attend the game against the Vandals where ever it is. I already know who is going to win. It is like scheduling a college football team against an NFL team. U of I doesn't stand a chance. The Broncos have better recruiting, a better coaching staff. When it comes to football BSU is far superior to U of I.

However, the tradition of the rivalry game goes far back into both schools history. I disagree with it ending just because the Broncos are moving to the Mountain West. Even if the game is reduced to every couple years it should remain a home-away schedule.

-- Posted by ekwoodard on Thu, Jul 29, 2010, at 6:37 PM

Wow, so if your U of I degree is so much better than mine from BSU, why are you working for a local newspaper that I was over qualified for?

You getting your full 40 hours there or are you part-time? I will continue to read your blog just incase you release the Kool-aid recipe.

-- Posted by workingbee on Fri, Jul 30, 2010, at 7:08 PM


-- Posted by MrMister on Fri, Jul 30, 2010, at 7:45 PM

Over qualified???? WOW! Get over yourself! If you read ANYTHING that Mr Taylor writes you will see that he can write..WELL. Bashing him only gives me more of an insight as to why you didnt get the job......Disgusting.

-- Posted by mhg4316 on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 2:19 PM

I am also a North Carolina transplant, but from Durham. I consider myself a BSU Fan and have since I arrived here. Since my home team left little to be cheerful about in the football world, we (Duke) regularly beat up on the "tarholes" in basketball. Our great rivalry(Duke/UNC) is as old or older than my parents marriage. My Mom a UNC fan and my Dad a Duke fan, let me tell you sometimes it was not fun to be watching the game when I was a youngster. This is why I would hate to see the in-state rivalry end, rivalry has defined all I know about college sports, and I believe rivalry adds to the enjoyment of college sports and gives you a playful reason to poke at your friends.

-- Posted by jdvann on Wed, Aug 4, 2010, at 2:29 PM

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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.