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AN AGGIE LINE: USU cheerleaders perform during the Aggies' final exhibition game. It's time to cheer for basketball. / Photo by Brianna Mortensen

Today's word on journalism

Friday, November 10, 2006

Q&A with Ed Bradley:

Q: What single issue should be covered more at CBS News?
A: Foreign news.

Q: Have you ever been assigned a story you objected to? How did you deal with it?
A: When I first started in New York at WCBS radio, the assignment editor automatically assigned any story that had a minority in it to me. I objected to being typecast and told him if I didn't get a variety of stories -- as other reporters did -- then I would take it up with the news director.

Q: If you were not in news, what would you be doing?
A: If I had the talent, I'd play bass guitar and sing in a kicking band.

--Ed Bradley, reporter, "60 Minutes," died yesterday of leukemia at age 65 (2006)

Aggie football's an old dog whose time has come -- just shoot it

Editor's note: This column was written before USU's loss to Idaho State, in which the Aggies scored 21.

By Tyler Riggs

Octboer 2, 2006 | Sometimes you have to shoot a sick dog. It's no surprise to any fan of Utah State football that this year's team is struggling.

Through their first four games, the Aggies scored seven points, and they came in the second quarter of the season opener against the University of Wyoming.

Against SEC powerhouse Arkansas? Shutout.

In-state rival Utah? Goose egg.

Brigham Young University? Bagel.

Oh, the humanity.

We're not saying that it's forbidden for the team to struggle, but consider this: Right now the coaching staff of the football team combined makes upwards of $700,000 annually. That's $100,000 for each point scored in the first four Aggie games.

' Nearly $8 million worth of money from student fees is being used to build a new locker room and training complex for USU athletes -- a training complex that likely will largely be off limits to regular students.

Meanwhile, attendance at football games is dwindling, support is at an all-time low, while the number of athletes being arrested for off-field problems is at an all-time high. Some would argue that the off-field problems are happening as a result of the caliber of player that head coach Brent Guy is forced to recruit to Logan to turn the program around.

It could be that. Or it could be that NCAA Division 1-A football cannot succeed in Logan.

Look at powerhouse football programs across the country: The Ohio State University, The University of Texas, and The University of Southern California have huge population bases to draw fans from.

And even when there isn't a large population base to draw from, as is the case at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, tradition -- and support from a Legislature that is full of alumni -- can help greatly.

Utah State is not now, and likely won't be in the future, that lucky. They won't be that lucky because they have to compete directly with The University of Utah for funds, and indirectly with BYU, schools to which many Utahns likely are more loyal to.

Many people lamenting the situation USU athletics, and particularly football, find itself in often defer to the "chicken or the egg" argument. Good football at USU can't happen without great facilities. Those don't come without money, and money doesn't come without fan support. Of course, fan support doesn't come without a winning football team.

And there we've gone full circle.

Supporters wonder when the community at large is going to step up and pay a few dollars to help the team, but perhaps the better question is, when will the supporters shoot this dying dog?

It's the right analogy. Football at USU is the old dog you knew as a child, the dog that had some good days, but most of the time sat in the front yard, with his only movement being a gentle turn of the head when cars drove by. He's sick, and needs to be put down.

So does USU football.

Certainly with that dog, there may have been some level of veterinary care that could have saved him, and with enough money, USU football might be able to make resurgence.

But that leaves us with two good options now: Either community members need to step up and help students fund the program, or put the program out of its misery. After all, does anyone really enjoy seeing a program that has millions of dollars invested in it get embarrassed so badly each week on the field?


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