By Tiger Fan
Allright, law school exams are over, so I finally have to time to weigh in on all the issues in Columbia. So, without further ado...
Is anyone really surprised that the Sun Bowl ticket situation has turned into such a fiasco? It just wouldn't be a Mizzou sporting event without the athletic department screwing things up. When I first heard that they were giving away free tickets to students, I thought it was great... it's about time Mike Alden acknowledged the fact that the athletic department is actually tied to a university full of students. But almost as quickly, I realized this would be a disaster. Let's see: "poor" students who are crappy "fans," free tickets, eBay, a game in freakin' El Paso smack dab in the middle of winter break... what could go wrong?
I'm torn about who to blame for this. The athletic department is stupid for not seeing this coming. The fans who are buying the student tickets are stupid for encouraging it. And the students themselves are just jerks... and terrible fans. We actually had this happen with Zou Crew student tix to the Braggin' Rights game a couple years ago and those responsible were kicked out of the organization. The bottom line is that no true Tiger fan would take advantage of the AD's generosity and try to turn a profit for themselves. It is amusing to me to hear the students justify selling their tickets: "Well, they shouldn't have given them to us" (classy)... "Everyone knows Mizzou football is just about tailgating anyway" (I'm sure the players would appreciate hearing that. Plus, I've got bad news for the Mizzou tailgaters out there: Our scene is fine, but it's no better than most other Big XII schools and pales in comparison to anything in the SEC)... "I'm a poor college student" (give me a break)... "Who wants to ride to El Paso in a bus and sleep four to a room?" (Um, I think that's called a road trip. Those kind of memories are what college is all about. Besides, I thought you were poor?)... and my personal favorite, "Do you know how much an All Sports Pass costs? I'm just trying to recoup some of my investment. All student tickets should be free." (Are you freakin' kidding me? All Sports pass costs $207. That's less than season football tickets cost and then you get all the other sports for free. If anyone needs to recoup their investment it's someone who actually paid the AD face value for their tickets. The AD loses money on All Sports Passes. And sure, there are some schools where they let kids in free... but there are also schools like Ohio State where freshman get the distinct privilege of buying tickets to ONE game. I think Mizzou is at a happy medium).
Lost in all this is the bigger problem: The AD has only sold a couple thousand tickets, well short of the mark required by the Sun Bowl. If we don't get there, it will COST the AD around $200,000. Nice work, Tiger fans. Here's the bottom line: We should never complain about getting passed over by a better bowl. Mizzou fans have proven we don't deserve it.
Speaking of Mizzou fans, what the heck is going on in Columbia? I understand that there was some snow and all, but let's show some support for the basketball team. They're 9-1 and off to their best start since 2001 (when they went to the Elite Eight), but no one seems to care. It's pathetic. Only a few years ago, Hearnes was overflowing with people because the AD thought all the students would skip the Iowa game at the start of Christmas break and resold the tickets... but then all the students showed up. Now? Either our student "fans" are pathetic or they have seriously raised the academic standards at Mizzou. Come on folks, get to a game. It takes two hours and if that makes a difference in your studying, you're probably screwed anyway. CMA is not Quin Snyder and he has these guys playing with heart. They deserve your support.
I guess part of the problem may be the geniuses in the athletic department, who seem to be doing everything possible to discourage student attendance. According to this story in the Tribune, Alden apparently called in the police at 3:00 a.m. to prevent students from lining up early for Braggin' Rights tickets. Yes, this is the same guy who won't let students camp outside the arena before big games (that's why the annual Zou Crew camp-out for kU seats was always at Tiger Plaza). Name for me another big-time program that would turn away students who were camping out for seats. I'll wait.... Back? There aren't any. Some Mizzou fans want to believe we have a big-time program, but we won't until our crappy leadership stops doing stuff like this. It's a Catch 22: The AD complains that we don't have any fan support... then the fans show up and he calls the police. Brilliant. How does this man still have a job?
The other team that deserves your support is the Mizzou wrestling team, currently ranked No. 1 in the country. Take a minute to let that sink in. No. 1 in the nation. Could you imagine what game day would be like if football was No. 1? Basketball? Ben Askren already brought Mizzou one national title and is working on another. Now, his brother Max is looking to do the same. These guys are the real deal.
I'd be remisced if I didn't mention the departure of University of Missouri President Elson Floyd. He's not directly related to the athletic department, but after the Ricky Clemons debacle, he will be forever tied to Quin, Alden, etc. I'm torn about what to think. On one hand, I'm all for getting rid of the entire regime that killed the basketball program and embarassed Mizzou on a national scale. Quin's gone... Floyd is gone... Alden is the only one left. The thing is, Floyd didn't really do anything wrong. Sure, his wife was completely out of line and embarassing, but can he be blamed for his wife's conduct? It always seemed to me like he got caught in a bad situation where he reached out to a student in trouble, and Clemons made him look like a fool. On the other hand, if you look at the big picture, he was good for the academic side of the university (which is why it exists in the first place, isn't it?). Most faculty members supported him, and he did a good job of keeping the state from slashing Mizzou's budget more than necessary. I think the Tiger fans who are cheering his departure are taking a somewhat myopic view of the situation. Overseeing athletics at Mizzou was a very, very small part of his job. Floyd was supervising the operation of four campuses throughout the state. He must have been doing a good job, otherwise Washington State wouldn't have offered him so much money to leave. He always seemed like a nice guy to me (can't say the same for his wife), so I wish him all the best. I just hope the UM system can find a suitable replacement to run the SCHOOL. If you have a problem with ATHLETICS, fire Alden. Maybe the new guy will do it...