What do President Obama, Time magazine, NBC News, Chronicle of Higher Education, Huffington Post and yours truly have in common?
We’re all unabashed supporters/slash/fawning admirers of Boise State.
For the record I do not own a single item of Boise State apparel. Nor would I admit to wearing royal blue and orange simultaneously. The only instance I can recall pulling for Boise State in an athletic endeavor was the evening of Jan. 1, 2007, insomuch that every other bleary-eyed football- consumer in 49 of 50 states (Oklahoma, duh) was doing precisely the same.
Despite these meager qualifications, the leaders of Idaho’s largest university thought highly enough of my sterling prose and reputation to lean on both as they assembled a 24-page document of vital importance: their official sales pitch to the Big 12 Conference.
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As you already know, or darned well should, the Big 12 recently sounded the expansion cattle call, resulting in a 20-way cluster scrum of eager suitors including the very one whose football team scuffles on unusually hued turf.
Hence the need for a sales pitch, one filled with enough glowing stats and tributes from trusted sources to convince the Big 12 bigwigs that Boise State, indeed, brings the goods.
Boise State has gone big time, and not just in athletics.
Quote attributed to “Fresno Bee” in Boise State’s official sales pitch to the Big 12 Conference
For the cover of said document, the leaders of Idaho’s largest university chose an Obama quote that pays a compliment to Boise State’s “culture of innovation.” Inside, the flattery continues with plaudits from NBC, Time, Huff Post and Chron of Higher Ed.
Scroll down to Page 16 and you’ll see one final quote, letters superimposed atop an aerial photograph of downtown Boise and Albertsons Stadium on game night:
“Boise State has gone big time, and not just in athletics.”
Why the leaders of Idaho’s largest university chose to attribute those words simply to “Fresno Bee” and not include my easily spelled name, I cannot say. But trust me, they were transmitted to keyboard by these clumsy fingers.
Why the leaders of Idaho’s largest university chose to attribute those words simply to “Fresno Bee” and not include my easily spelled name, I cannot say.
They came straight from an October 2014 column after my first visit to the Boise State campus in a decade. I can remember gazing at the $135 million Stueckle Sky Center and the $22 million Bleymaier Football Complex and thinking, “Where in the heck did these gleaming edifices of college football largesse come from?”
So, yes, I was suitably impressed. Enough to pen 980 words informing the Fresno State partisans back home that their beloved Bulldogs had fallen well behind in the facilities arms race.
Swear it wasn’t malicious. Just an informational cold slap of reality.
The leaders of Idaho’s largest university must’ve thought it was clever, not to mention a zinger at the expense of a rival Mountain West Conference school, to use my quote in its Big 12 pitch. From what I’ve heard, their Fresno State counterparts did not find the gesture quite as amusing.
Still, all’s fair in love and the chase for millions in TV dollars.
Normally, I would be content to never revisit this subject and go about my merry way. But since someone took my words and used them without complete attribution or consent, there’s some compellence to tell the whole story.
You see, despite my positive remarks about Boise State’s facilities, I was not actually permitted to go inside. My requests to visit the Bleymaier Football Complex, which I described as the “nerve center” of Broncos football, were flatly turned down.
I soon discovered it wasn’t simply a case of Boise State not wanting to open its doors to an out-of-town columnist. The leaders of Idaho’s largest public university wouldn’t allow the Broncos’ own beat writer inside either – even though said reporter covered the team through more than a decade of triumphs. (Boise media were permitted one peek when the place opened. How magnanimous.)
It was also a bit puzzling why the leaders of Idaho’s largest university selected that particular quote and not one from my September 2013 column (sorry, vanished from the Internet) that illustrated how little Boise State spends on women’s sports compared to Fresno State and others in the MW.
Surely the Broncos’ football über alles approach would impress the Big 12 just as much, in not more, as my remarks about their “nearly Pac-12 level” facilities.
Surely the Broncos’ football über alles approach would impress the Big 12 just as much, if not more, as my remarks about their “nearly Pac-12 level” facilities.
Alas, it appears the collective efforts of Boise State, Obama and myself may have gone for naught. According to an online report published Tuesday evening, Boise State did not make the cut of Big 12 finalists.
The reason why is obvious: Had Boise State allowed me to actually see the facilities I was writing about, my praise would’ve been even more glowing and surely tipped the scales in their favor.
But they didn’t – and there goes tens of millions of greenbacks down the chute.
The lesson here for the leaders of Idaho’s largest university is plain: Next time I come over for a visit, kindly open the door.