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Perspective: by Jerry Pyle
Woody's Parting Shots
It was a pretty good week for Cobber sports. Women's tennis kept rolling. The baseball team beat NDSU. The track team finally got to compete a little. The softball team hit the road in search of dry fields. And the seniors, including Woody, began the final countdown to graduation on May 7.
Woody is one of the student assistants in our office.
After graduation he's heading to graduate school to study sports administration. He'll do well as an administrator. He knows how to divert the blame for screwups to others. He doesn't do it as well as a coach, but he's good enough at it to be an administrator.
Woody came in last week to give me his final appraisal of our SID office. (I had been under the mistaken impression that I was going to be evaluating him.) "That woman over in administration who does the copying sure messed up again," he said.
Woody blames her for not only crooked columns in our newsletter but also misspellings.
"But what the hay, that's water over the bridge." The recent flood obviously has Woody confused about where water should go.
"I thought since I was leaving soon you'd want my thoughts on this SID office and how to make it better." Woody has loads of confidence.
"First, what you need to do is jazz up the stories a little. People like controversy and all we give them is pablum, platitudes and stats. We need to talk about drugs and money and raging egos in the coaching ranks.
You know, the stuff that makes college sports so fascinating."
We're a little short on drug scandals these days, I suggested, and raging egos have a hard time making it at the Division III level. Having to sweep the gym floor or put the lines on the field doesn't seem to really suit coaches with raging egos.
"OK, OK. I'll agree this is a pretty whitebread place.
But the least you guys could do is hype your recruiting a little. You know, press conferences for signing recruits, with pep bands, that kind of stuff."
Woody was not aware that there is no letter of intent for Division III recruits to sign and that there is a rule against hyping verbal commitments by high school athletes.
"OK. Try this on for size. NDSU gets all that publicity and the Cobbers get hardly anything. You ought to be doing something to change that."
I mentioned to Woody that Concordia probably gets the best newspaper and TV coverage of any Division III program in the country, despite the fact that NDSU has an outstanding program just across the river. Old myths die hard.
"Yeah, but look at all the ticket sales and good PR NDSU gets out of their athletes from that publicity."
And look at all the good PR Concordia gets out of their 400 athletes playing varsity or junior varsity sports each year. A chance to compete in varsity sports is part of what their tuition gets them. Plus, they get a degree.
"Yeah and those athletes are paying four million dollars in tuition each year to the college."
Woody catches on.
"OK. One last thought. How come there are so few non- white athletes at Concordia? Did you ever think to mention that little reality?" Sometimes even Woody can stumble onto a gem of a question.
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