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COLD FEET: Birds take to the ice as winter makes its appearance at Yellowstone National Park. / Photo by Nancy Williams

Today's word on journalism

Monday, November 5, 2007

On Objectivity:

"I still insist that 'objective journalism' is a contradiction in terms. But I want to draw a very hard line between the inevitable reality of 'subjective journalism' and the idea that any honestly subjective journalist might feel free to estimate a crowd at a rally for some candidates the journalist happens to like personally at 2,000 instead of 612 -- or to imply that a candidate the journalist views with gross contempt, personally, is a less effective campaigner than he actually is."

-- Hunter S. Thompson, from Fear & Loathing: CORRECTIONS, RETRACTIONS, APOLOGIES, COP-OUTS, ETC., a 1972 memo to Rolling Stone editor Jann S. Wenner, excerpted in the current (November 2007) issue of Harper’s Magazine (Thanks to alert WORDster Andy Merton)

Aggie football team hopes new facilities bring change in team's record

By Tyson Hyde

October 17, 2007 | Utah State football fans have sure been hoping that last year's one-win season was a fluke. Many prayed that quarterback Riley Nelson's departure for a LDS mission wouldn't have too big of an impact on the team's success, and with the new facilities built behind the north endzone, lack of equipment certainly can't be used as an excuse for losses.

Construction of the new facilities complex got underway with the demolition of the old building back in December. The hope was that the facilities would accomodate the academic and athletic needs for all 16 of Utah State's sports teams, helping the 300 plus student athletes with their practice and conditioning. It includes a new sports medicine complex with hydro-therapy exercise pools, new locker rooms, hospitality plaza, coaches offices, conference rooms, classrooms, computer labs, and tutoring rooms. In total, the new complex is over 50,000 square feet.

Brian Watts, a current student, avid USU football fan and member of Utah State's "A-Team" told me he has taken a tour of the new facility. "The new North End Zone Project is really impresive. The training facility for physical therapy and such went from 900 sq. ft. in the old locker room to 11,000 sq. ft. in the new one. It is a state-of-the-art facility which I really believe will help with recruiting down the line."

The university hopes that these facilities will bring Utah State to a level that many other schools in the conference already have in place. The new setup will allow for team members and coaches to more easily interact with each other, and save time for athletes who won't have to go to different buildings now to use all of the facilities.

Ryan Bohm, a former member of Utah State's football team, spoke to me about the new facility. "I think the new facility is definitely one step to get the program where it needs to be. It should help with recruiting and bringing new players in to build the program stronger," said Bohm.

Other fans don't feel that the new facility is the only thing that needs to happen to improve the program.

Kyle Hyde, a Utah State employee and USU football season ticket holder, commented, "Coach Guy may need to start recruiting more junior college players if he wants the team to win." Hyde feels that bringing in more experienced players is really the solution to the Aggies woes. Watts thinks that the team needs to keep Coach Guy around for at least three more years to see what his recruiting classes can do.

"It won't make any sense to fire him like we have other coaches in the past," Watts said. "It's not like in losing we are ruining some sort of dynasty we had in the '90's!"

The university has been asking for donations of any kind to help wtih the financial end of building the new complex. One such program to get donations is called Aggie-Up. This grass-roots program already has over 150 members who have each said they will donate $250 for each of the next five years. Another program is the Locker Project. This includes lockers in Utah State's locker room being purchased. Those who purchase the lockers will have their name and a short message put on the locker.

Another opportunity to donate will be with buying naming rights of plaques on the pillars to the entrance at the Ralph Maughan Track. Naming rights will be given to those who choose to donate towards the new press box as well. People or corporations can also lease suites in the new press box.

Utah State fans can also contribute by donating to an endowment fund. The University's goal is to pay for athletes on scholarship through this fund. Donors can also donate directly to the athletic team they choose. This money will be used to help with costs associated with uniforms, travel, etc.

Even if the new facilities don't bring about wins in the near future, and even if the team doesn't have a successful year, Watts feels that fans will continue to support the program. "As far as the football team goes, after watching them for at least 20 years, I would consider it to have been a treat to go to the games."

He said he remembers when the team was having success in the early '90's, and how fun it was to go see the team play in the Las Vegas Bowl.

"The Las Vegas Bowl was a great time! I can remember being part of the caravan of hundreds of fans on their way to Vegas, with news helicopters flying around to get shots of the spectacle," Watts recounted. "Recently the team hasn't been much to speak of ... definitely has been the brunt of a lot of jokes as well. It is kind of comical to see how we will lose the next game."

No matter how the outcome of the season is, it's almost a sure bet that fans will continue to come out and support the team.

"As a kid, there was something special about Saturday football games at Romney Stadium, win or lose it didn't matter," Watts continued.

Those same feelings of nostalgia that Watts had thinking back on successful seasons will get others to continue to buy tickets, hoping that the new year will bring success to the team. This is why Aggie football is so important to the Cache Valley community.


Copyright 1997-2007 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
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