DISCLAIMER: Dukes Chat is again featuring a guest opinion piece. This piece regards the state of Duquesne University Football as opined by one of the better-known names of Pittsburgh sports blogging, particularly Duquesne Football blogging -- Mark Draskovich (a.k.a. Coffee).
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"Lack of Support for Duquesne Football" - Mark Draskovich
There are mixed messages coming from the Duquesne University administration in support of the Duquesne Football program. While it's great that we are awarding scholarships and building a new stadium, we must make the effort consistent.
Athletic Director Greg Amodio is immensely talented but comes from a school that did not have a football team. There are some basics that every NCAA Division I-A or I-AA team needs to be able to recruit and be successful:
1. A decent stadium (not a Beaver Stadium, but one that seats at least 7,500). A recruit wants to play on a field at least comparable to his high school field.
2. A radio station (not just Internet) to broadcast the game to those who can't make it every time.
3. Active public relations, including support on the department's Web site.
4. A marching band/color guard/et cetera for decent halftime shows. Football can be a family event. Some dads feel better bringing their families on the weekend rather than being away for another day. College games must add as much pageantry as possible to include students and families. Families come to see their kids play on the field whether they throw the football or play the tuba. Marching bands at halftime are part of a proven formula for football just as the pep band is right for basketball.
- The upcoming new stadium is an improvement, but nine rows of stands from the 20-yard line to the other 20-yard line are not going to attract anybody. It is a statement to a recruit that we don't take the program seriously.
There is space atop the little picnic tables for a few more rows, and the department can extend the rows from end zone-to-end zone with little added expense.
- Local media must be convinced that attracting a mostly higher-educated group once a week for 10 weeks will be a win for them too. We have our own radio station on campus that broadcast basketball when they had too.
Greg, we respect the work that you are doing for basketball, and the results are obvious. You have a core of loyal alumni and fans, and we want to follow the athletic program year-round. Do just a bit more for football, and the returns will be enormous.
(Image: Coffee Bean, Copyright Royal Society of Chemistry)