Opposing Fans Moved to the Cheap Seats?

In what can be considered a move to gain a more decisive home-field advantage, Georgia Tech has moved all but 785 of the 8,500 allocated tickets for Georgia when the Bulldogs visit Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta November 29 for the annual thrashing of the Yellow Jackets.

  While it seems both crafty and rivalry-fueling, it won't work at Tech.  The Yellow Jackets have only sold 21,000 season tickets for a 55,000-seat stadium, leaving plenty of availability for Bulldog fans to scoop up tickets in the lower bowl.  Making it easier on the Bulldogs is the fact that UGA rules the state, including the Atlanta-area where Georgia Tech should be able to at least get a foothold.  Taking a peak at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Web site reveals links to UGA and Georgia Tech sections, with the UGA link more prominent than that of Tech.  That's pretty much all you need to know. 

While the plan probably won't work for GT, it is something that could work for a school that sells out its season tickets every year, and packs its home stadium on a routine basis.  Someone like, I don't know, NC State.  Think about it; give me one reason NC State shouldn't move UNC's tickets away from the field. 

Heck, we could even distribute their tickets in groups of 4 so they don't have a large group of fans in any centralized location. 

Wouldn't it be better to put UNC fans in the upper deck so people who make noise and actually participate in cheering for their team can enjoy a better view?  Wouldn't it be an improvement to have the whine and cheese molding in the upper deck, rather than in view of television cameras (that is, if UNC is good enough to even get our game on TV this year)?  Wouldn't it be a delight to hear UNC fans complain about how they got screwed?  Best of all, wouldn't it be great to watch UNC try to do something similar and fail because their fans can't seem to fill Kenan Stadium on its own.

The Raleigh News & Observer recently printed some excerpts from comments received by UNC Chancellor James Moeser and NCSU Chancellor Marye Anne Fox.

Retired UGA Vice President, and NCSU alumnus Eugene Younts wrote, "I am strongly opposed to the expansion. What you have now is a class act in academe, a good balance between academics and athletics -- the envy of the South and perhaps the nation. During my 30 years as an administrator at the University of Georgia, we were constantly pointing to the North Carolina group as something to be emulated ... Very big time athletics keeps getting in the way. … It seems to me that the current athletic programs at NCSU reflect the institution most appropriately. Once the move is made to become something artificially stronger, there is no turning back. Maintain the integrity of NCSU."

Apparently, Younts didn't get the memo that academia is taking a backseat when it comes to college athletics.  Of course, we all say we want our athlete-students to obtain their degrees, and solidify an education that can serve as a backdrop should pro sports not work out.  But let's be honest here: When it comes down to it, we all operate by Al Davis' motto, Just Win Baby.  I'm not ashamed to admit that its more important to me that our athletic programs succeed than it is for the athletes to obtain their degrees.  Sure, I want all of the students at NC State, athletes or not, to be successful, in the classroom and out, but it's ultimately up to each and every student to get the job done.  The integrity of NCSU is not threatened by adding Miami, Syracuse and Boston College.  Was the integrity of Vanderbilt or Kansas or Northwestern threatened when their respective conferences expanded?  In the end, the integrity of a school or university lies upon the shoulders of said school, not the rest of the conference.  NC State will determine the academic image of NC State, not the rest of the ACC.  I find it especially insulting that an NCSU graduate would be so narrow-minded that he could ignore the reality of the situation. 

WVU College of Agriculture, Forestry & Consumer Sciences Associate Director and NCSU graduate William Vinson wrote, "Yesterday, I removed my N.C. State degrees (bachelor of science '65, master of science '67) from the wall at work; not so much to ease the flak from coworkers as to acknowledge a reality which I never considered as a possibility – that I would be ashamed to be a graduate of N.C. State University. But here I am, ashamed, embarrassed, and saddened. I could write a book about this but will say only that your willingness to participate in the destruction of five sister academic institutions for athletic dollars is unconscionable."

The first time I read this, I got a mental picture of Vinson as a whoopee cushion waiting for a Sumo wrestler to sit on him.  This guy is so "ashamed" of NC State that he removed his NCSU degrees from his wall at work.  That's hilarious.  I'm almost ashamed that I actually took the time to read this drivel.  After one person suggests NC State will not retain its integrity if expansion goes through, this clown says NC State will be somewhat responsible for "the destruction of five sister academic institutions" for athletic dollars.  Outside of the fact that he's wrong, I guess it doesn't take a rocket scientist, or even a agriculture, forestry & consumer sciences associate director to realize the academic portion of the five schools of which he's speaking will remain in tact.  It's not like West Virginia and Virginia Tech will become worse places to get an education because they are no longer able to ride the coattails of superior athletic universities. 

Secondly, any NCSU graduate that receives flak from whom I'm assuming are WVU graduates and can't defend himself should be ashamed of himself.  One probably doesn't even need to be awake to respond to one who received their higher education in a state that claims inbreeding as its claim to fame.

Joe Forte has seen the light.  In an interview with USA Today's Robert Velin, Forte says, "I'm not making excuses for anything I've done.  I know I messed up. But I'm angry at the fact that I haven't been playing. It's ridiculous. With the things I've been able to accomplish in practice against people who are supposedly stars, for me to sit on the bench and play behind certain players is just not right."

I can't be the only one who's not clear on what Forte means.  Is he talking about his Trail Blazer-esque practice performance, in which he fought a teammate, subsequently receiving a one-game suspension?  However, one wonders why a suspension was handed down for one who rarely takes off his warm-ups.  Since that incident, he has improved his image by getting arrested in Maryland in April while speeding.  Police found Forte's best friend, Mary Jane, and a loaded handgun riding shotgun.  Then Chapel Hill police issued a misdemeanor arrest warrant for Forte after he allegedly punched a UNC football player in the face in a pick-up basketball game. 

Last, and certainly not least, a USA Today article cited UNC Chancellor James Moeser and Duke President Nannerl Keohaneas two who are concerned that expansion would lead to longer travel and missed class time for the school's athlete-students.  Of course, that's a pretty ironic statement coming from the leaders of schools that have scheduled away games at nearby locations as follows:

UNC Women's Soccer – Ft. Wayne, IN; Seattle, WA; Houston, TX
UNC Swimming & Diving – Phoenix, AZ
UNC Gymnastics – Los Angeles, CA
UNC Volleyball – San Diego, CA; Minneapolis, MN

Duke Women's Lacrosse – Stanford, CA
Duke Rowing – Boston, MA; Austin, TX; San Diego, CA
Duke Track & Field – Reno, NV; Houston, TX; New York, NY; Stanford, CA; Austin, TX
Duke Swimming & Diving – Los Angeles, CA; Dallas, TX; Tempe, AZ; Chicago, IL; Las Vegas, NV

Wouldn't it be nice to hear the truth from Duke and UNC?  Look, most everyone knows UNC and Duke are holding out on expansion until they get what they perceive to be favorable division alignments.  But please don't lecture anyone else on how your institutions are concerned about how extra travel to places like Miami, Boston and Syracuse will hinder your programs, while sending teams to Seattle, Phoenix, L.A., San Diego, Dallas, Las Vegas, etc.

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