I would like to respond to the disjointed letter sent in last week (Sept. 14) blasting the University’s decision to play Florida State at the beginning of the season. Mr. Cooper starts by saying this decision embarrassed the alumni, current students and athletes, future students/athletes, athletic department and all that had a hand in making this decision. It seems to me that he thinks the decision to play FSU was a decision made outside the athletic department. As any good sports fan knows, scheduling is decided by the head coach and athletic director.
He goes on to state how broadcasters found this game scheduling to be pathetic. While I’ll admit I don’t watch a whole lot of college football, I didn’t see anything written or spoken anywhere that would justify this. Did they think that Murray had a chance of beating the ‘Noles? No, but that didn’t mean they saw the game as “pathetic.”
Mr. Cooper then states “we” collectively puked our guts out every time we saw the score on the bottom line and this game put our players at risk to injury. I would first ask Mr. Cooper to not generalize the entire fan base with how he felt. I knew we didn’t have a shot at beating FSU and I knew the real reason why we were playing them. As for putting our players at risk; they were in no more risk than they would have been if they played a different opponent. Football is a contact sport and the players know the dangers and risks when they make a conscious choice to play.
He is right when he states this was about a pay day. Yet, while he wants to say this decision did more damage to the school, I’d argue the opposite side. Not scheduling this game would do damage to the school and athletic department. Playing in these games gives players an opportunity to play on a big stage and compete against some of the elite teams. It also helps fund improvements in facilities and, more importantly, helps the athletic department’s bottom line so other sports like tennis, soccer, volleyball, etc. can have the opportunities to better their programs, increasing the value of the University.
So Mr. Cooper, loyal supporter of the University of Washington and Pac 12 since ’73, you are entitled to be disgusted by this decision. But know that your beloved Huskies do the same thing FSU did. And as far as my Murray State Racers are concerned, keep your opinions to yourself because I applaud Allen Ward (director of athletics), the athletic department, and all Racer coaches for striving to advance the quality of our sports and University.
Letter from Nathaniel Hantle, alumnus from Franklin, Tenn.