An Open Reply to an Angry ASU Fan

In a recently published editorial, Arizona State University fan Justin Karp went off on San Jose State and Athletic Director Tom Bowen for canceling the 2010 game versus the Sun Devils for the more lucrative contest with Wisconsin. Inside Sparta Associate Editor R.P. Cotta, Jr., retorts on Karp's carping.

Reading Down the Lines: An Open Reply to an Angry ASU Fan
To:  Mr. Justin Karp, PitchforkNation

Dear Mr. Karp, Angry Arizona State Sun Devil Fan,

From the tenor of your recently published "open letter" to San Jose State University Athletic Director Tom Bowen, we take it you are unhappy with his decision to drop Arizona State from SJSU's 2010 schedule.  We are certain that you must understand that nothing could please Spartan fans more.  Thank you for taking the time and having the courtesy and consideration to inform us of your sentiment.

Under the circumstances, however, we do not understand your outrage.  While having SJSU as a home opponent at ASU in 2010 makes competitive and economic sense for your school, we are somewhat flabbergasted that you do not appreciate the fact that it makes little sense for ours.  Between 1936 and 1971, SJSU and ASU enjoyed a mutual and competitive football relationship.  During that span, nine games were played at San Jose, 12 at Arizona State.  The record was nine wins for San Jose, 12 for Arizona State.  Since that time, however, San Jose State has played at Arizona State eight consecutive times, losing all eight.  It was evident, by the time of our last game in 2007, that the series had become lopsided, especially considering Arizona State's reluctance to offer any further home-and-home competition.

Considering that history, especially following Arizona State's admission to the Pacific Athletic Conference in 1978, there is little sense in San Jose State continuing to participate.  This is especially true considering San Jose State's economic burden of having to support most university athletics on the back of its football team.  When considered in this light, it is far more advantageous for San Jose to get paid a nearly a million dollars, and potentially garner national television exposure in the process, by scheduling an expected loss at Wisconsin (you erroneously wrote we dropped ASU for Alabama), rather than to go to Tempe and lose there.  Perhaps if Arizona State were willing to resume a home-and-home schedule – even on a "two-fer" basis – that might change.  But unless and until that happens, ASU can expect, like California and more recently Stanford, to be deleted from our schedule.  Grimly put, it makes more sense for us to lose elsewhere.

Kindly keep in mind that these opinions and viewpoints do not necessarily reflect the position of the San Jose State University Athletic Department, its Director, or its coaches.  I do believe, however, that these opinions are widely shared by many San Jose State Spartan fans.

Your letter raises another interesting point: the suggestion that dropping ASU "emobodies all that's wrong with college football these days."  We couldn't agree more.  The BCS cartel and its six major conferences have tossed fairness and competition to the wind by garnering to themselves untold millions of dollars in revenues, leaving smaller, less fortunate schools and conferences to fend for themselves.  Arizona State has no doubt benefited from this arrangement.  You can hardly blame the victims of this questionable enterprise for now fending for themselves.  If you are truly interested in preserving the integrity of college football, perhaps you should write an "open letter" to the ASU athletic director, urging support of reforms to the BCS racket, including implementing a legitimate college football playoff system.

Of equal fascination is your admission that you are a cause of the problem.  Despite the fact that you lived in Santa Clara for many years, and could have attended a few San Jose State games if you wished, you instead chose to attend games at Stanford and California.  There is no debating that San Jose State has suffered through the years due to a small fan base.  This is a result, among other factors, of having to compete with Stanford and California for fans such as yourself.  However, to be a part of the problem, and then use that problem to further denigrate the institution saddled with it, smacks of rank hypocrisy.  Thank you for underscoring this issue for San Jose State.

Under the circumstances, we sympathize with your dilemma. It is our dilemma, also.  We do not believe San Jose State will forever be an also-ran in major college football.  San Jose State has a football tradition going back as far or farther than that of Arizona State.  The willingness of schools like Colorado, Navy, Army, Iowa State, and Mountain West opponents such as Colorado State and San Diego State, to schedule home-and-home series with the Spartans is just one indication that better days do lie ahead for San Jose.  However, if your sentiment is representative of a majority of Arizona State fans, I'm certain SJSU will be more than happy to ensure that your final wish is fulfilled.  Perhaps Arizona State can fill the gaps in its schedule by renewing its series with the Phoenix Indians (your first opponent, circa 1897).

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R. P. Cotta, Jr., is an Associate Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact R.P with any questions, comments, or tips at

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