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Monday, October 6, 2014


Just when you thought it was football season, the sports media changed their coverage. It has apparently become "cover the people in the stands" season, as that angle has now overshadowed the game itself. The rules of this game are to begin by acknowledging a problem as a nationally widespread phenomenon, then trying to make it look like it's a problem with Michigan State University.

Once the standard post-game news cycle was complete (about mid-day Sunday) the conversation seemed to move away from the field of play to the folks in the stands, namely, the student section in Spartan Stadium. Nearly every radio and television program covering the game mentioned or focused on the "story" of how a lot of people left the game before it was over. As if they can't make their own decisions once they buy a ticket to an event.

There is no Izzone for football games, so nobody has a foothold to hold anybody accountable for how long they stay at any game, or even whether they attend at all. So this re-focusing of attention away from a major victory by the team is groundless. It only serves to distract from the real storylines of the game, such as:

  • Holding Abdullah to 45 yards
  • Beating Nebraska two years in a row
  • Opening title defense with a victory
  • Continuing the home winning streak
  • Developing young players for MSU
  • Your selection here

I sat in the "student section" decades ago, under different seating rules, but we were free to come and go as we pleased. Should be the same today. (There was no Izzone back then, either.) The current seating policies don't grant any controls over the "student section" or its members. So this media harangue is a red herring.

Why then, do they browbeat MSU over this purported "embarrassment"? After all, it was below 40 degrees with a wind chill near freezing along with a windy rain. The game appeared to be out of hand and in the bag, etc. Notice how every original source of criticism or commentary on this subject was either in the press box or getting paid (or both). Even if university officials commented on it, journalistic discretion suggests that there is no story there.

At the same time, students at Rutgers are now subjected to questions and criticism by the same sports media after their big win over Michigan. When the game was over, hundreds of students rushed onto the field to celebrate. Now they're being cast as the bad guys.

How's that again? The Scarlet Knights beat the Wolverines for the first time in history in the first game of their first year of membership in the B1G Conference, and the tilt was a back-and-forth affair that went down to the wire. Some kids wanted to whoop it up. Been there, done that.

But since it was UM on the short end, the sports media directs us to believe that there was something news-worthy, and yes, negative, about the "incident". Pardon my french, but OMG. Now that the Wolverines are stinking it up, do they think everybody should just go easy on them when they lose? Is the sports media protecting the "Michigan Brand" by casting aspersions towards any who would dare to defile it?

In sum, the sports media is discrediting one set of students for being too disengaged with their football game, while at the same time discrediting another set of students for being too engaged with their football game. The targeted groups are the students of MSU and the students of the-team-that-just-beat-UM.

There it is, you can figure it out.

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