Letter to the Cyclone Fans

Here at Cyclone Nation our primary goal has been to make this a great product for our customers. Unfortunately, there have been needless obstacles to us accomplishing that goal thrown in our way. And as publisher I think it's time you the fans, who are ultimately the Cyclones that matter the most, need to be made aware of what has been going on behind the scenes.

The bottom line is this: certain individuals within your sports
information department would rather exercise mysterious personal grudges -- whether justified or not -- as opposed to putting the best interests of Cyclone fans first.

We didn't cover as many women's basketball games as I would've liked nor as many as we will cover in the future. That was a staffing issue and we had to make a judgment call when the schedule conflicted with the men, and we made the same decision they'd make at The Des Moines Register or the Ames Tribune. It's also the same decision CN made before I took over, yet they never faced the needless uncooperation we did recently.

In the past, regardless of its coverage frequency, founder Steve Deace was always able to get assistance for credentials at the last minute from Sports Information at ISU to the Big 12. Never once, according to what Steve told me, did he ever encounter the slightest interference.

That all changed last week.

Erin Rosacker, the sports information contact for women's basketball at ISU, told our content chief Chris Williams that she would not assist him with getting credentials to the Big 12 Women's Tournament, thus denying us a chance to serve you, the Cyclone fan. The original reason cited involved a technicality about how often you covered the team during the regular season. However, when he contacted the Big 12 office Chris was told they'd be happy to waive that requirement if Erin would vouch for him.

She refused.

When she was asked why she claimed it was because we had been going behind her back. Yet she also told Chris she would approve him getting credentialed through Steve's show on KXNO. What does that mean? Why would we get him credentialed with an entity that doesn't employ him?
Why wouldn't a school like Iowa State, which has the most cash-strapped athletic department in the Big 12, want to do everything it could to assist the only publication on the planet devoted solely to telling their story? It would seem to me that ISU could use all the allies it could get.

I can't say I know for sure the motive here, but it's hard not to take this level of pettiness as a slap in the face.

Coach Mac gets it. Jamie Pollard gets it. The two most prominent persons in your athletic department have been easy for us to work and communicate with. Coach Mac, in particular, has bent over backwards to accodomate Chris since we brought him on board.

Why is it so difficult for some in sports information to get it? In all fairness, our staff has nothing but great things to say about Mike Green, who handles men's basketball. Yet, since my very first meeting with Erin and Tom Kroeschell we've been treated unprofessionally. I've seen plenty of eye rolling. I've heard lots of complaining even about other aspects of the ISU athletic department and university staff. What I've not heard is a passion about telling the ISU story in these meetings.


It would seem to me the full media relations team would enthusiastically tell the ISU story instead of creating tension where tension doesn't need to exist. On one hand Mr. Kroeschell has given me his cell phone yet in meetings he won't even make eye contact. The tension is thick and I've even asked on more than one occasion if there are issues we need to discuss or how can we best work together. He's not responded.

At times Erin has been cooperative yet the hostile vibes are ever present. Most recently she stated she was upset we went behind her back but I have yet to receive an explanation of what that means. Was it because we met with Jamie Pollard? Was it because when sports information wouldn't provide us with athletic schedules I met Frank Nogel and he got them to us right away?

In my first meeting with sports information I asked to get information on the Capitol City Classic and I was stone walled. Now there were other sources, apparently, where I could have gone to get promotional information but I found that out in our meeting with Jamie Pollard. At no time did sports information say go to these people and you can get all the information you need to promote ISU versus Ohio State at the Wells Fargo Arena in the Capitol City Classic.

When I mentioned we wanted to promote the Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series I received even less cooperation. I simply don't understand that. Why wouldn't sports information want to promote the heck out of or at least encourage the promotion of an event sponsored by one of our state's most prominent corporations?

The proverbial straw for me, however, has been the handling of our access to the Big 12 women's basketball tournament. Even Steve was stunned. Despite all the talk about him behind his back he never got anything but the utmost cooperation from everyone at sports information.

However, unlike some members of your sports information staff, we're not going to allow any personal animosities get in the way of serving Cyclone fans. That's why Chris Williams is in Dallas and we purchased game tickets to provide first hand coverage of the event for Cyclone fans who subscribe to our site. Hopefully you have read his report from Dallasor heard his 40 minute update on Deace in the Afternoon. We have chosen to go the extra mile of attending this event in person, while others have not.

I'm used to being undermined but for more noble reasons - like political ambition. I'm used to battling over things like protecting bureaucracies paying six figure salaries to officials that use the public dole to pay tribute to their benefactors. What I am not used to dealing with is pettiness. I am simply dumbfounded that when I'm paid to promote Iowa State and they are paid to promote Iowa State we can't promote Iowa State.

Like it or not we are not going away. Our traffic is up, our content generation is improving, we're coming off a successful football recruiting party, we have ambitious plans to cover spring football later this month, we have new features like "Where are they Now", we will soon introduce a weekly print product to cover ISU, and I've invested significant resources to improve this product and have plans to do even more in the near future.

We don't work for Iowa State, we work for Cyclone fans. But to tell the Iowa State story we need to work with Iowa State. Some of us may have different motivations but I would think we'd all have the same goals, which is making Iowa State the dominant sports team in the state of Iowa and making sure Cyclone fans are aware of the abundance of good things going on at ISU.

When sports information refused to credential Luke Vander Sanden and Jack Whitver, former captains of the ISU football team and current CN staff, for the Houston Bowl despite the willingness of the Houston Bowl people to credential us I let that pass because at least the excuse was plausible.  This latest afront is particularly unacceptable especially when they would credential Chris through Steve's show. Steve agrees!

Unfortunately, it appears the incidents discussed in this piece -- and others we haven't addressed publicly at this point -- reveal a mindset inside your sports information staff that might prevent ISU from reaching its full potential.

Jonathan R. Narcisse, Publisher
Cyclone Nation
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