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0 Friday, December 07, 2012

Louisiana, let the boys play

by Guest Writer

Written by: Shane Magness

The last week of college football certainly lived up to its hype. But the storyline that caught my eye was not the tightly-contested conference title games or even Northern Illinois’ questionable Orange Bowl berth. It was that the 9-3 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs would not be playing in a bowl game. Louisiana Tech, the third-place team in the WAC, spent significant time in the top 25 this season, and notably took the #9 Texas A&M team down to the wire in a classic game on Oct. 19.

For the entire team, but especially the 31 seniors, the news of no bowl game came as a shock. Players took to Twitter to express their frustrations. Long-snapper Josh Cuthbert tweeted “Love all my boys who are seniors especially! No bowl game 9-3 not too happy right now.” Cuthbert also added “Oh yeah and way to go athletic director #yousuck.”

Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin chipped in, saying the players were “devastated” about not going to a bowl. “Every emotion you can have, from sad to angry.”
The probem is—they were invited to a bowl game. On Saturday afternoon the Independence Bowl extended an invite to Louisiana Tech to take on in-state rival Louisiana Monroe. The Bulldogs’ athletic department was given a deadline to respond by, but gave no answer by that time. After turning down the Independence Bowl, the Bulldogs never received another invitation, and will now sit at home for the bowl season.

The school tried to deflect blame away from themselves, saying other bowl games had shown some interest, and they were hoping to receive a bid to a different (read: better) game. The school thought they deserved a trip to a farther away location than nearby Shreveport, and deserved a better opponent than LA-Monroe. But no matter what their thought process was, they still shoulder the blame for their team being left out in the cold.

Given the player reaction to the situation, it’s clear the Bulldog players wouldn’t have been insulted by a trip to the Independence Bowl. School administration made an error when they decided to gamble with their teams’ postseason fate. This is a move I could see being made by a big-time program that, by their standards, had a bad season. But for a program seeking just its seventh bowl appearance, it seems like a pretty bad gamble.

The seniors on this year’s squad were still in high school last time the Bulldogs won a bowl game. Louisiana Tech did make the Poinsettia Bowl in 2011, but lost to TCU. This move cost some players their first ever bowl experience, and cost some their shot at their first bowl victory. The athletic department owes the team a huge apology.

NBA legend Karl Malone said this on Twitter: “I am bulldog to the core, I am heartbroken and embarrassed that our university would do this to Tech Nation…”
Embarrassed is how the university should feel, knowing they caused all the hard work done by the team to be thrown away, and no reward to be given. As Denzel Washington’s character in “Remember The Titans” said, “Let the boys play.”

Shane Magness is a senior at Oklahoma Christian University

 

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