CLEVELAND - Note: the following is an editorial blog by NewsChannel5 sports director Andy Baskin.
It's time to talk Kent State sports. KSU names Joel Nielson the athletic director. He takes over for Laing Kennedy. He was the A.D. at South Dakota State.
I'm not sure If I want to get some stuff of my chest as a reporter or as an alumnus. So this is a combo of both. I really hope Kent State realizes what they have lost in Kennedy. As a member of the NCAA division one men's basketball selection committee, he really is a part of basketball's power brokers. It is a huge honor. Kennedy is still working until June 30.
No offense, I really haven't done much work with the other coaches at Kent State, but men's basketball coach Geno Ford needs to be locked up for a few years. He has done a great job. Despite the fact the team lost to the eventual champs in Ohio University at the "Q," Ford has proved that he is right in line with the great coaches at KSU from Waters to Heath to Christian.
These men brought the program to the forefront of the MAC and really gives Kent State the positive image it needs. The "Kent read, Kent write, Kent State" jokes will remain forever until somebody in the administration realizes that the school has great things to offer. Just look out the window.
From education to business to liquid crystals to fashion to Herb Page's golf program, KSU has so much to offer. Why is no one pushing the schools positive images? If they are it's not reaching anybody.
Where is the face of the institution? I know what Kent State's arch-rival is doing. Have you seen the Super Bowl? Dr. Luis M. Proenza is there talking about the great things going on at Akron.
Go to the "Q." Akron has a gigantic sign in corner. I can't miss that. You don't even need to leave the City of Kent to see KSU get beat in the marketing game. Kent Roosevelt High School's football stadium has University of Akron advertising in the end zones.
The last time Kent made the dance, the announcement party was at a bar. The bar was under construction. The fire marshall came in and was going to shut the place down. If they need a lesson on how to treat your team with class, call the Cleveland State women's basketball team. Last Thursday, they had a first class room where the women found out who they will play in the NCAA. I wasn't worried about being arrested for covering the event.
The University of Akron has clearly passed Kent State in terms of facilities. The MAC center was great right after World War II, when it was built. I am assuming. In the 80s, they got rid of diving team so they could expand the gym and build those great glass boxes to watch basketball games. Seriously what were they thinking? Sitting inside a glassed-in room to watch an indoor game?
But let's go back to Akron -- Infocision Stadium is going to carry Akron right out of the Mid-American Conference, when the Big Ten becomes the Big 14 or 16. Akron's going to have a chance to jump somewhere. Believe it. Why? Because they care about sports. They are considered with image. While Kent State was worried about being called Kent State or Kent or Kent University, the Zips have had a plan and are moving forward. Kent State is chasing its own tail.
I once had a conversation with a former KSU head coach of a team in the 1980s. I was told the KSU powers that be had a pow-wow one weekend. They were thinking about dumping athletics at Kent. Despite all the good the men's basketball team has done, It looks from the outside as though the school is clueless when it comes to athletics. Maybe they did drop athletics in the 80s. Apathy gets the biggest cheers when it comes to the Golden Flashes.
It is a huge school sitting next to one of the biggest cities in United States. The chance to brand Kent as Cleveland's Division I school may have passed. Cleveland State students will vote on non-scholarship football next month. I am hearing it is going to pass. The program will grow if CSU moves forward on building dorms.
Good Luck Joel. I hope you can take Kent State in the right direction. You need to turn the ship around. You might need to build a new one.
What's your take on Andy's rant? Voice your opinion in the comment box below.
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