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Tuesday Tidbits: Football season is almost here!

August 31, 2010

The EMU Marching Band, "The Pride of the Peninsula", performs at the Student Center in 2007.

As the title says: Football season is almost here! I enjoy lots of sports: basketball, soccer (football to the rest of the world!), horse racing, and curling, to name a few. But there’s something extra-special about American football. For one thing, it’s uniquely American — it says so right there in the name! Sure, there’s now the NFL Europe, and the Canadian version with a 55 yard line — those goofy Canucks! — but at it’s core, football is an American game. It’s as American as apple pie, and it also comes into season at the same time of year. I especially love college football, because of the pageantry and tradition associated with it: tailgating on a crisp fall day, the blaring brass and hammering drums of a marching band, cheerleaders tossed high into the air, and costumed mascots. I’m guessing that you love college football too, because you’re reading this blog, and so you’re probably just as excited as I am to see the start of the 2010 season.

The EMU women’s soccer team advanced to 2-0-1, beating Illinois State and Eastern Illinois 1-0 each. This was Illinois State’s first home loss in nearly three years and Eastern Illinois’ first home loss in nearly two years. Senior goalie Monique Budani recorded the 17th and 18th shutouts of her career, and was named the Mid-American Conference’s Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week for the first time in her career. The Eagles will close out their four-game road trip at 5 p.m. this Friday, September 3, at the 2-1 Michigan State Spartans, and will play their home opener at Scicluna Field, Tuesday, September 7, at 4 p.m., against the Detroit Titans.

The EMU volleyball team won the Comfort Suites Invitational tournament in Huntsville, Texas, winning all four matches. The Eagles defeated Prairie View A&M 3-0, University of Louisiana-Lafayette 3-1, Sam Houston State 3-0, and Marist 3-0 to claim the title. EMU sophomore Rachel Iaquaniello was named the tournament MVP, and  junior Ashley Mason was also named to the All-Tournament team for the Eagles. This weekend, the team will travel to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, for the Bucknell Invitational, at which they will face Bucknell, Iona, and Providence.

MAC-Sports.com previews EMU football as part of their “13 Teams. 13 Days.” series. There aren’t really any surprises or new insights there, but it’s a decent and thorough summary of where things stand.

At EMUtalk, they’re looking ahead to the possibility of a faculty strike to start the semester, and considering how the Eastern Michigan administration prioritizes academics in relation to athletics. While I’m sure that, were I in their place, I’d do everything I could to secure the best possible contract, I’m skeptical that a faculty strike will be well-received by students, parents, alumni, or the general public given the broader economic circumstances. Certainly Eastern Michigan appears to be on sound financial footing, and I suspect that our faculty tend to be at least somewhat under-compensated compared to peer institutions. But in general times are tough. The 0/0/0 campaign has been well-received and generated a lot of positive publicity for the university. Even if it hasn’t provided the hoped-for enrollment boost, it has created a perception of Eastern Michigan as a school that feels the pain of the struggling middle class. I think that because of this, there is likely to be a fair amount of sympathy for the administration position, regardless of the actual numbers, and the union will have to present their position very carefully to avoid appearing greedy.

Eastern michigan University indoor practice facility

The Bubble

On the issue of athletic funding, however, there seem to be some legitimate red flags. From four university press releases (two each from 2005 and 2009) it appears that a tuition increase originally justified as being for “much-needed improvements to classrooms, laboratories and academic facilities” resulted in the pool of money from which several athletic facility improvements, including The Bubble, were funded. It also appears that final price for The Bubble was about 39% over the original approved budget, and the new parking lot, costing over $400,000 (wow! it’s not a very big lot!) was not originally desired. I encourage you to read the entire press release from EMU-AAUP President Susan Moeller, which is reprinted at the bottom of the post.

Heritage Newspapers, the parent of the local weekly Ypsilanti Courier, has posted their EMU football season preview. Not much more to say about that one.

MAC blog Hustle Belt looks at EMU football players in the NFL. There appear to be six right now: QB Charlie Batch, WR Kevin Walter, DT Jason Jones, DB Johnny Sears, WR Eric Deslauriers, and my favorite, OL T.J.  Lang.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that former Eagle quarterback Kyle McMahon will be the starting quarterback for the Division II powerhouse that is Grand Valley State University football. The Lakers were D-II champions in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006, runners up in 2001 and 2009, and have a 102-8 record over the last nine seasons. Personally, I wish we still had McMahon at EMU, but I wish him luck at continuing the astonishing streak of success that GVSU has enjoyed.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2010 12:34 pm

    I’m not going to do a whole post, since it’s not really about sports, but it’s worth noting that EMU appears to have reached an agreement with the EMU-AAUP faculty union, averting a possible strike. The proposed contract was presented to union members for approval at a noon meeting today (no word yet on whether they did approve it). EMUtalk has a summary of the proposal.

  2. BeatNavy permalink
    August 31, 2010 4:26 pm

    Holy cow, that Heritage preview is interesting. I like how they mention a highy touted defensive player but don’t say what position he plays.

    • September 1, 2010 6:13 am

      Marlon Pollard plays cornerback. He was rated as a four-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout.com. In addition to UCLA, he had offers from Arizona State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Stanford, and Washington. UCLA granted his release because he was “buried on the depth chart” there. He’s a redshirt freshman, so he should be around for a while to make an impact here.

      • BeatNavy permalink
        September 1, 2010 7:12 pm

        I know that, but it is absolutely ridiculous that the person who wrote the preview didn’t mention his position and/or that the editors couldn’t spare three spaces (“CB “) to tell casual readers.

      • September 1, 2010 7:47 pm

        Maybe the Heritage staff have been getting journalism lessons from AnnArbor.com.

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