Clean image blemished
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012 14:04
What has been an academic year with unprecedented Division I success in athletics at NDSU has received its first red-pen ink mark last week. Lynn Dorn, Director of Women’s Athletics, was suspended without pay by NDSU Athletic Director, Gene Taylor, beginning on March 27th and lasting two weeks.
The initial reaction of anyone curious about the situation was who, what, where, when and why in the event that they heard of Taylor’s decision. You’re not alone. That was my reaction last Wednesday during the press conference Taylor held in front of a large group of media members.
I still have the same puzzling view of the situation, but there are some assumptions that can be brought up when looking at the facts that are out there. Instead of pounding my head into a wall wondering like I did for quite some time, I decided to look at this situation from a different approach.
Watching Gene Taylor step to the microphone last week was an eye opener for me. I hadn’t seen that look on his face in the two years that I’ve been here. In fact, it’s been mostly smiles, unicorns and rainbows in the athletic department for a while. The words national championship, Summit League championship, Missouri Valley Championship and historic win streaks have been a few phrases tagged with the Bison name.
Now this, the first black and blue mark to hit the program this academic year, has come and there’s not much that can be said about it because it’s not out in the open.
Part of the reason it’s not in the open is because Taylor had to protect himself, Dorn and the university during his press conference. The other reason is that this was addressed to the public over a month after the incident took place.
Why wasn’t it addressed earlier? The common theme is that NDSU wanted to keep it quiet, and that they weren’t going to say anything unless someone got wind of it. It did leak out, and that’s why it was announced to the public, eight days after Dorn was suspended.
Obviously the university and the athletic department were trying to protect themselves, but I’m on the side of the argument where this should have been reported prior to demands for it to be addressed. Instead of having to listen to voices from around Fargo saying things about NDSU trying to keep this quiet, I think they’d rather hear questions about the situation.
I understand the decision to not come out with this right away, but I think if they would have gotten ahead of this, faced it when it was happening, they’d have been better off. As I said earlier, I understand their reasoning to do what they did. There isn’t a perfect solution to this situation, but I think there is a better one, and I don’t feel as though NDSU chose the correct one.
It’s the lone low-point that I can think of for this university’s athletics department, and life will go on as normal before we know it. No university has it made. Look at the situations at Montana and Colorado State, they’re experiencing some difficult times and shake ups in their athletic department, which has to make NDSU faithful feel a little bit better that nobody has been fired, forced to resigned or forced to leave a team.