Category Archives: College Fun

Fake football attendance numbers, again

I also received an email from Jeremy Rosenberg, one of the main contributors at the site Eagle Totem, raising questions again about the fake attendance numbers at EMU football games– specifically the game on Saturday. Here’s a quote from Rosenberg’s post about the game:

Listed attendance for this game was 19,654. Anyone who was at the game knows this number is a complete joke. I’m not sure what type of Enron-esque, shell game is being played here, but it is not helpful. (Perhaps it was a typo, but I’m not sure how. The number was much closer to 5,000). I closely watch attendance numbers to gauge fan support. Without accurate, useable data, how are we to keep track of the growth of the program under Creighton? I’m going to try to do a little investigating this week and see what happened with the attendance numbers. Stay tuned…

Of course, this is not even close to new or even that unique to EMU. It’s still pretty slimy though. As Jeremy said in his email to me, if EMU can’t average 15,000 fans a game, maybe they shouldn’t be playing FBS football.

 

Meanwhile, at least we don’t have UNC’s problems (I hope)

So, today’s game day! No, I don’t mean Michigan versus Michigan State, though as a tangent, two thoughts on that:

  • This game seems like it is being promoted as a bigger “rivalry” game than it was in the past; maybe that’s just my impressions. And as far as I can tell, every Big Ten team really wants to beat Michigan (that was certainly the case when I was a student at Iowa).
  • Given the lopsidedness of the teams this year, I’m not exactly expecting a very good game.

No, of course I’m referring to the EMU versus Northern Illinois game! Sorta. Our friends at Eagle Totem have several posts about it all, and they point out that the halftime band show is some kind of tribute to Batman. That and the beautiful weather today could make the game worthwhile, though the Emus are 21 point underdogs.

Anyway, while you’re half-watching either of these games, take a moment to read through this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education about the cheating scandal coming to light at the University of North Carolina, “Widespread Nature of Chapel Hill’s Academic Fraud Is Laid Bare.” It’s pretty startling. Basically, about 3100 students at UNC (about half of them were athletes) took these sham classes in the African and Afro-American Studies department that never actually met where students would get As or Bs for turning in one paper. And the whole thing was run by the department’s long-time secretary and the department’s chair. Here’s a long quote from the beginning of the article:

An academic-fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took root under a departmental secretary and die-hard Tar Heel fan, who was egged on by athletics advisers to create no-show classes that would keep under­prepared and unmotivated players eligible. Over nearly two decades, professors, coaches, and administrators either participated in the scheme or overlooked it, undercutting the core values of one of the nation’s premier public universities.

Such are the sobering findings of an eight-month investigation led by Kenneth L. Wainstein, a longtime official of the U.S. Justice Department who was hired by the university to get to the bottom of a scandal that came to light four years ago.

Mr. Wainstein’s 136-page report, made public on Wednesday, lays much of the blame at the feet of Deborah Crowder, a secretary and then manager in the department of African and Afro-American studies, which is often called AFAM. Ms. Crowder worked with Julius E. Nyang’oro, who was then chairman of the department, to develop what the report calls a “shadow curriculum” that awarded students, many of them athletes, with high grades for classes that required no attendance and minimal work.

Ms. Crowder and Mr. Nyang’oro’s role in academic fraud has long been acknowledged, but the new report is the first to reveal the broad involvement of a variety of actors, including a faculty leader and other professors in the AFAM department. The investigation delves deeply into the motives of central players and provides a complex picture of Ms. Crowder, a relatively low-level operator who investigators say acted as a professor in all but name, routinely grading students’ papers and forging faculty signatures.

This went on for 18 years and it appears that it only became visible and impossible for administrators and others to ignore when Crowder retired. Yikes.

Though I have to say that I can see how this could happen and I can see how it might not really be noticed by administrators and the like. The department secretary is a powerful figure, actually. At EMU, she (and it is usually a “she”) can create special sections of courses for students, and it wouldn’t take a lot of fraud to sign off on grades and the like too. And unless someone was paying really close attention, this could go on pretty much unnoticed.

I guess what I’m saying is it wouldn’t surprise me if there were other universities besides UNC where some slightly crooked faculty and administrators weren’t doing some student athletes a favor or two.

UMass vs. Emus– and what’s the deal with Slippery Rock?

This weekend in football news: the Emus are away at the University of Massachusetts, and while our friends at Eagle Totem say this is a game that matters to both teams (because whoever wins will have put together a “streak” of two wins in a row for the first time in a long time), it kind of strikes me  as a “who is going to lose less” game. But hey, go Emus all the same.  UMass is a 14 point favorite right now.

What I don’t understand though is why is Slippery Rock playing football in Ann Arbor today? There’s an article on mLive about today’s game here, and this article from a couple days ago kind of/sort of explains the connection having to do with former PA announcers at the different schools. I mean, I don’t really care that much one way or the other, but it seems kind of odd that two small Pennsylvania colleges would come all the way to Ann Arbor to play a football game.

What’s the deal with “Ypsi the Klown?”

I’ve seen a couple of articles– this one in The Echo, and this one from the Ypsilanti Courier (which is where the picture comes from)– about “Ypsi the Klown.” I saw a couple of fliers in Pray-Harrold advertising Ypsi the Klown for the Homecoming court (I assume he lost).

So, what’s the deal with this guy? And is he on campus much? I haven’t seen him yet, though I’m working a lot more from home this term, so maybe it’s just me.

“USA Today ranks gray field at Eastern Michigan’s Rynearson Stadium top 10 in the country”

From mLive “USA Today ranks gray field at Eastern Michigan’s Rynearson Stadium top 10 in the country.” Needless to say, this story made me throw up in my mouth a little. BTW, the USA Today ranked Boise State’s blue field as number one, which is to say that their main criteria appears to be most colorful field.

Oh, and one more important point: USA Today was ranking the fields in this article and not the stadium. No sane person would say the perpetually empty and amenity-free Rynearson is one of the “top 10″ stadiums in the country.

Emus groovy new helmets and bricks and grey turf will bring a win, not

I kind of wish I could go to the game this Saturday, the Emus versus the Buffalo Bulls, but I’ve got previously scheduled things I need to do. As far as I can tell, it’s going to be perfect football watching weather Saturday, it’s homecoming (so I am sure there are some hijinks associated with all of that), and the Emus are only 14 point underdogs.

And aren’t we all a little curious about what goofy thing is going to be a part of “The Factory” marketing juggernaut? Maybe even more giant wrenches and sledge hammers? Maybe a bigger and even more dangerous wall? Perhaps the game will begin with an actual automotive assembly line: that is, instead of storming onto the field, the team will instead line up and literally demonstrate their work in “The Factory.” They will build a car before our eyes, and then, circus-style, they will all cram into it and drive it around the track.

Well, I can dream, can’t I?

Whatever happens, I am pretty sure it will feature the new helmets. mLive has an article about the magic helmets, “EMU football team adds new helmet design to rotation, equipment staff discusses fresh look.” As the article points out, EMU is far from the first team to waste a ridiculous amount of money wear some alternative helmets. But I have to say there are a lot of really cringe-worthy passages in this article. For example:

“When the players saw them for the first time, they were hooting, and hollering,” EMU assistant athletics director for equipment operations Tommy Rapier said. “It was like Santa Claus coming in.”

Yes, because what college football is all about is the toys.

And this:

“It’s actually a full decal, with the whole helmet covered, and it’s pretty expensive,” Rapier said. “They are called hydro-decals. It’s a decal floating in a fluid, they dip the helmet into it and cut off the excess to smooth it out. All Notre Dame’s new golden helmets use the hydro-decals.”

If a regular helmet costs $250, Rapier estimates that a full hydro-decal wrap would cost $300 per helmet with an additional cost to do the face mask.

Though to be fair, Rapier also points out that these helmets have to be refinished reconditioned every year anyway. So I guess there is at least some need for new helmets at least once in a while.

And then there’s this:

While there are no rules limiting the number of helmets a team can have, Rapier doesn’t expect the Eagles to add a fourth.

“There’s no rules, just ask Oregon,” Rapier said, jokingly referring to the variety of uniforms and helmets the program uses. “It’s one of those things the NCAA hasn’t stepped in on yet, but I don’t foresee us going to more than three helmets.”

Ha! Ha ha! So funny to joke about the ways that the NCAA allows college football to waste boatloads of money.

Happy Anniversary, Michigan State Normal School– I Think

Via the book of face I learned from a friend today that the Michigan State Normal School (aka EMU) was officially dedicated on October 5, 1852. Here’s a nice little article about it in the Detroit Free Press.

Though what’s weird to me is that I thought the year EMU was founded was actually 1849– that’s what it says on the wikipedia page at least. Well, founded/dedicated/actually started classes are all slightly different dates.

Sure wish we still had that cool logo. Something about picturing kids wearing t-shirts with “NORMAL” in an M makes me smile.

Emus versus Kangaroos

First off, I just want to point out yet another obvious mascot renaming/rebranding opportunity was missed with Eastern’s move away from “The Hurons.” As I’ve said before and I will say again, I don’t understand why we didn’t just give up on the stereotypical American Indian logo and stick with “Huron” generally– there’s a lake, a river, a street, a county, etc., etc. But if a name change had to happen, we obviously should have become the Emus, and with that name change, we could have started what would could have been the greatest series of rivalries in all of college sport: Emus versus Kangaroos.

Alas, “eagles.” Lame.

By the way, according to this info page at “GoZips.com,” the original name for the University of Akron team was the “Zippers,” and it was “officially” shortened to the Zips in 1950. The kangaroo thing (that’s “Zippy,” by the way) came about in 1953 as the result of some kind of student council contest.

Anyway, it looks like it might be kind of a boring/lopsided game because Akron is favored by 25 and it’s not like the Zips are competing for the national title or something. So here’s a video of emus and kangaroos fighting instead:

The game starts in Akron at 2 pm. A more serious preview of the match-up is provided by our friends over at Eagle Totem here.

 

“The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil”

Pretty slow week EMU news-wise around here, so I thought I’d go ahead and share a link that a loyal reader sent me, an op-ed by Camille Paglia called “The Modern Campus Cannot Comprehend Evil.” Paglia is reacting to/arguing against (I guess) the efforts that have been ramped up on college campuses to combat things like date rape and other unwanted sexual advances, not to mention sexual assaults. Here’s a quote just to let you know what you’re in for:

Wildly overblown claims about an epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses are obscuring the true danger to young women, too often distracted by cellphones or iPods in public places: the ancient sex crime of abduction and murder. Despite hysterical propaganda about our “rape culture,” the majority of campus incidents being carelessly described as sexual assault are not felonious rape (involving force or drugs) but oafish hookup melodramas, arising from mixed signals and imprudence on both sides.

Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students’ dating lives, an authoritarian intrusion that borders on violation of civil liberties. Real crimes should be reported to the police, not to haphazard and ill-trained campus grievance committees.

I read her book Sexual Persona as a doctoral student for a class (I can’t even remember what the point of that class was now), and the thing about Paglia is she can go from saying something interesting and profound to strange and crazy with the flip of a switch, sometimes within the same sentence. This piece seems a bit like that to me. It also seems a bit like wishful thinking since the days when colleges could just stick to academics and not worry about supervising students on campus or otherwise ignore non-academic things (e.g., “student life”) are long gone.

 

Nice to see all the attention of U of M football circling the drain for a change of pace

You can’t throw a virtual brick out of a virtual window without hitting a story about the woes of the University of Michigan’s football team this weekend. As an Iowa alum/fan (they beat Purdue Saturday, btw) but as a “Michigander” based on the fact that I’ve been here for 16 years now, I have a mixture of glee, sympathy, distress, and apathy. I know that seems possible, but there you have it.

One nice thing (the glee part, I guess) about all of this is it is a misdirection from the silliness of the EMU football team. But there’s a good analysis by Jeremy Rosenberg over at Eagle Totem called “Brandon’s Failure at Michigan a Warning for Lyke.” Rosenberg’s argument is that UM Athletic Director David Brandon is screwing up royally by further corporatizing athletics generally and football in particular, and he’s afraid that EMU AD Heather Lyke is trying to imitate that here.

I’ll say this: I was unaware until reading Rosenberg’s piece that U of M is so desperate to keep that 100,000 fans at each game streak alive that you can get a free ticket for a couple of Cokes. That’s kinda sad. At the same time, if EMU had a similar promotion, I’d buy a couple of sodas and take in a game.