Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And Your New Menlo Head Coach is?

Welcome to the ranks of Head Coach in the Northwest Conference Fred Guidici. We only kid with you Fred. Anybody who loves himself some AC/DC is down with Wildcat11. Just remember it's a long ways to the top if you want to Rock N Roll.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Colorado College Football RIP. Who could be next?

As many of you know by now Colorado College has killed their football program (also water polo and softball). Honestly, this is scary has heck as this is the 3rd D3 program to go away and 2nd western small college program to drop this year (Division II Western Washington was the other if you are living in a cave). Is this where it ends or are there more programs out in the far west that could be up on the chopping block in the near future? I hate to say it but I think there are 3 programs that I can name off the top of my head that could be in real danger over the next year or two of fading away if the economy continues to impact budgets.

---Southern Oregon. Even before the economy went into the tank this was an athletic department that has been rumored to be on the brink of program cuts for year and football has been one that is most talked about. The NAIA program is not only isolated by its location but also by their status of being an independent. With no true home or set opponents to play each year the Raiders schedule is in constant flux with brutal road trips that have to be a heavy drain on their budget. Add the fact that the only way the Raiders can build a strong program is by increasing their scholarship dollars and you have a toxic mix for administration to use the 'ol “times are tough” line before they nuke an athletic program. I think the only way this football program can survive is to make the move to Division II and join the current 4 teams that make up the GNAC. However, their other athletic programs have a nice local NAIA conference (Cascade Conference) so there is the catch. Do you move everyone up to just save the football program? I guess this will be answered in the near future.

---Lewis & Clark. *Sigh* I wasn’t too worried about the Pios until Colorado College football went “breast plate” up. This is the 2nd D3 team on L&C’s 2009 schedule that has now died off and Colorado College was L&C’s homecoming game. Now this is where the difference is between SOU and L&C. For the Pio’s administration cutting football wouldn’t be about saving money as it would be more about a general apathy towards the sport on Palatine Hill. It’s no secret that football not only has to fight on the field for respect but also on their campus as the culture of L&C isn’t exactly athletic friendly. After the 2005 season debacle and near death of the program the Lewis & Clark administration rallied and put together a review board that worked up a plan to revive and promote L&C football. While they have hired a few more full time football staff members and have brought in some better numbers they still have a ways to go to be competitive week in and week out in the NWC and I’m worried that if that if 2009 is filled with more 65-7 losses then I can see a push to remove the sport due to a lack of competitiveness and for the administration to use the weak economy as the public out. *crossing fingers*

---Menlo. Their travel budget for football has to be bonkers. Every road game is a flight (unless they bus down to play the SCIAC schools during the non-conference season) but regardless the Oaks are in a tough spot in regards to travel. However, the Oaks have been doing this for years and years and have managed to survive so spending dollars on flights is something they have great experience in managing. Also, when you factor in that the student body at Menlo is about 600 undergrads tops and 80-90 of those students are football players then I just can’t see Menlo dropping the sport without really hurting the core of the college.

I hope that the pro-football folks in these college communities are being active now in making sure administration is aware that current players, families, and alumni would be active in helping these programs maintain their health. Bring a football program back from being cut is a tough sell (just ask Pacific).

Is Menlo exploring Division II?

This rumor has been floated on the GNAC posting board over at D2football.com and actually originates from the fine folks at SaveWWUfootball.com and here is the quote:

We've just learned that Menlo College is looking for DII affiliation as early as 2010-11. It appears they are reaching out specifically to the GNAC, but their inquiries have been more general in nature. Menlo is currently a DIII/NAIA dual affiliate; they are going to compete at the NAIA only level until the possibility exists for them to move into DII. They stated that in order to leave their current DIII football conference that they would need to secure scheduling partners starting in 2010.

After I spit my coffee on my keyboard in a sudden fit of laughter I settled down and started to think why the heck Menlo would be exploring a jump to Division II. This doesn’t solve Menlo's problem of travel for their football program and in fact would cause even more expense with the needed dollars Menlo would have to come up with to build scholarships to be competitive with the DII schools. It doesn’t make sense but this is what I’m reading between the lines.

There are two things going on right now that may have piqued Menlo’s interest. The California NAIA conference Menlo is part for all their other sports (California Pacific Conference) has two members (Cal State-East Bay and Dominican University) that will be moving to Division II starting next fall with Cal State-East Bay applying to the California Collegiate Athletic Association and with Dominican University being a member of the Pacific West Conference.

The catch is that the CCAA won’t accept private schools and that would leave the Pacific West Confernece which is spread out between California (3 schools), Utah (1-School), Arizona (1-School), and Hawaii (4-Schools). So not only will football still have to fly all over the Pacific Northwest, but they will have to raise scholarships dollars for not only football but all sports, and instead of having a California local conference to play in, the Oaks are going to have to spend huge dollars on flying all their other sports to the islands on the regular.

The only thing I can think of why Menlo is exploring DII is that they are afraid of what might happen if the Pacific Boxers bring back football. Does Menlo think that the NWC will dump them once the Boxers are back and the NWC wouldn’t lose the auto-bid if they sent Menlo back to the DIII Indy ranks? I believe that a couple of NWC members have desires to get rid of Menlo due to their admission standards not residing in the same neighborhood as the other NWC members and these members see that as a major advantage. The NWC invitation to Menlo was one born out of necessity for the conference to get the auto-bid and it never would have been extended otherwise. So if Pacific does come back is Menlo trying to find an alternative to being a DIII independent once again if the NWC rolls on them? I don’t think it’s a very good alternative but what other options would they have?

I do want to state that the above is solely my own opinion/theory. IMO, I think the majority in the NWC would want Menlo to stay if Pacific came back or not and I’m in this camp. Yeah, they have an easier time getting kids enrolled but most of the NWC schools have some great advantages over Menlo that The Oaks will never be able to overcome (Menlo competes against California JC’s, facilities, game day environments, tradition, VERY small student body, program turnover and stability, etc).

Should be a fun spring to see what develops....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Your Boxer Football Update

The Pacific University Newspaper, The Pacific Index, has been covering the possible revival of Boxer Football and most recently posted up the video report above. The report gets some sound bites from students both pro and con and we get to hear from the man himself, Athletic Director Ken Schumann.

One concern expressed a couple times is the worry that brining football back would “take away” from other sports on campus. Since football is played during the fall I guess people are worried that football back on campus would take away from the droves of Boxer fans attending volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer games. Just look at these attendance numbers for the 2008 season: Pacific Men’s Soccer averaged 221 spectators a match, Pacific Women’s Soccer brought in 174 spectators a match, and Volleyball pulled in 200 fans a match. I too would be worried about football eroding this fan base. (Where is an eye roll emotioncon when I need one?)

Obviously, I’m in Ken Schumann’s camp that football back on campus for our NWC neighbor would be a positive not only for their university but for the entire conference. Yeah, that means another body to recruit against but Linfield seemed to do OK when both Pacific and OIT still had football (won 3 NAIA titles) . ‘Ol Wildcat11 will stay on top of this story as it will have a huge impact on the NWC in the future.

BTW, mark it down now. SOU will shut down their football program within 3 years if they can’t jump to Division II.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Player Blog: Paul Partlow "Extending a Helping Hand"

Today’s player blogger, Paul Partlow, is coming from a place that Wildcat11 knows very well. While football at Linfield was a major part of my Linfield experience another part of that experience that had just as large of an impact was my participation as a member of Theta Chi (Delta Alpha Chapter). I lived at 405 College Avenue for 3 school years (2 summers) and had many great memories of living in the “OX” house. I’m sure what I’m typing now still holds true today but without that house and the friendships and bonds formed within its walls there are probably many of my friends from Linfield that never would have finished college or at least college at Linfield. It was really our home away from home.

Currently, Linfield Linebacker, Paul Partlow, is the acting Treasurer of the Delta Alpha chapter and a strong believer of the community service aspect of fraternity life. While Paul maybe an impact player for the ‘Cats on the football field, off the field you’ll find a bright, funny, and reflective young person who is working hard to counter the standard “frat boy” stereotypes you’ll find at most colleges.

Beer, parties, girls, hazing, meathead, academically challenged, toga. These are the words that most likely come to mind when people hear the word fraternity. With Bluto from Animal House and Frank the Tank from Old School as the stereotypical frat boys. Though could you imagine either of these fraternities requiring community service as a requirement for membership? Of course not, fraternities never give back to the community and are only concerned with the coming weekend party. Yet, like most Hollywood portrayals, this could not be further from the truth.

At the Delta Alpha Chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity at Linfield College, part of the requirement of being a brother is to complete a minimum of ten hours of community service each semester. WHAT! Theta Chi is full of meatheads who are self centered pricks! I won’t waste my time to argue the meathead status given that over half of the members are Linfield football players, with a handful of members involved in other sports including baseball and track, but I would like to point out that we do have a diverse group of guys, even including a thespian member, I will say that many do not realize that we actually help others. After all, the Theta Chi motto is “extend a helping hand.” In fact every year an executive member of the fraternity is elected to the position of Philanthropy Chairman. His sole responsibilities being to plan, organizes, and oversee Theta Chi’s community service events throughout the academic year.

The biggest philanthropy event that we put on every year is a goods drive during the holiday season we’ve coined “Theta Chi’s Twelve days of Christmas”. During this event we park an RV on campus where we accept donations 24 hours a day for 12 straight days offering donators and passers by some hot cocoa, coffee and cookies while listening to vintage Christmas music. Then we forward everything on to local organizations such as Goodwill, Kids on the Block, OHSU, and the food bank. Simply put, it’s a local drop off for students and McMinnville community members who may otherwise be unable or unaware of such community service and a place where they can pick up a hot beverage during the cold weather to warm themselves up throughout the winter days.

Other events Theta Chi participated in throughout the fall semester included a 3rd Street cleanup with the Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority and the annual “Think Pink Week” with Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority. For Think Pink week, we hold different events throughout the week in efforts to help raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. This year Theta Chi contributed a bit extra by organizing a new event called “Bash out Breast Cancer” where members of the community could donate money to the cause and bash a car. So, not only could a student or faculty member give money to a great cause but they could also relieve some stress by smashing a car with a sledgehammer. In all, the event raised close to $300 in its efforts to bash out breast cancer.

Philanthropy events that we have coming up this semester include volunteering at the local soup kitchen, a mentor program with a local middle school, and collaborating with the Make a Wish Foundation. For the aforementioned event, we'll be sponsoring multiple events around campus that'll last all semester. Events include a golfing day, a "donation dance,” an auction of fraternity brothers and sorority sisters, a barbecue and something that we’ve labeled "meathead" events. These “meathead” events will include push up contests, races, and other events that will demonstrate “meathead status.” Our goal is to reach $5000 in donation funds to forward on to the Make A Wish foundation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Philanthropy Chairman Grant Lucas at glucas@linfield.edu.

So just know that the next time you insult or hold a prejudice against a fraternity meathead, that meathead may have just made a difference in the community. And if you don’t realize that, then I may have Brother Heston, Brother Bolin, and Brother Nishizaki come out and eat you. Just kidding, that would never happen…or would it?...

-Paul Partlow
Class of 2010

Profile picture courtesy of Linfield S.I.D. Kelly Bird