The Reaction: Petty plan blocked

Publisher Nick Medline offers his quick reaction following the Evanston World of Beer's decision to cancel its stage of the Coaches Caravan.

In a perfect sign of the times, message boards and social media blew up with reports that World of Beer Evanston cancelled its stage of the Illinois Coaches Caravan.

The event initially met with derision from Northwestern fans, who considered this a petty attention grab. Why on earth was this necessary? From the southernmost building on NU's Evanston campus, World of Beer is a convenient five-minute walk. It sure seemed like one pointed slap in the face.

World of Beer understood that it faced potential backlash from the community. The Wildside–our favorite NU student group–started a response that gained significant traction.

When the Illini coaches arrived in Evanston, you would have been sure to find several protesting Wildcats benefiting from the convenient excuse to grab a beer. Many will miss the opportunity to lash out at the terrible Tim Beckman. Instead, they'll harness the energy and continue to build what is slowly becoming an authentic rivalry.

And what better time for that? NU football–expected to compete for the 2013 Big Ten title–pounded Illinois in the teams' most recent meeting. A defensive lineman even saw time at running back. It was about as unsportsmanlike as you'll ever see Pat Fitzgerald—that's not a bad thing.

This event, or lack thereof, somehow became an interesting story. It's the direct result of budding confidence surrounding NU Sports. Non-revenue teams are winning conference championships with ease. Basketball has a new face in the form of Chris Collins. Football is flexing its muscles.

This is the golden age of Jim Phillips. We're all content to watch.

Meanwhile, Illinois will eventually have to consider the salient points of athletics. Most notably, the football team will have to recover from its absolute embarrassment of a 2012 season. World of Beer or not, the program has a lot of ground to make up.

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