Time to Move On
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 13:10
I think closure is the right word for it. NDSU President Dean Bresciani, Athletic Director Gene Taylor and head football coach Craig Bohl held a press conference last Tuesday that they hope will put an end to the voter fraud fiasco that took the Bison program by storm.
The situation died down in the media after a couple weeks of bashing, but sparked back up after the 10 players pleaded guilty in their court appearance last week. The three NDSU honchos did a great job with their press conference that I believe will put the situation at rest, as it should be.
Bresciani issued a written explanation, Taylor apologized for his remarks after the CSU game and Bohl suspended starting running back Sam Ojuri for one game and gave his reasoning for doing so. They each fielded questions from the media and then walked out of the room and out of the situation.
Sports are funny, really. Off the field issues usually draw more attention from media than on field performances. That’s just the nature of the media beast, I suppose. NDSU should realize this, considering the football team had plenty of legal issues just a few years ago.
But this situation had a new dimension. No one ever expected football players to be involved in a voter fraud case. I don’t think the college officials, coaches, or even the media really knew how to handle it. Taylor and Bohl decided to let it play out. Some agreed and some didn’t.
Once the court handed out the punishment-- almost a year of unsupervised probation and hours of community service-- I think many may have realized the media coverage on the situation went overboard. NDSU was more known
for the voter fraud case than defending National Champions for a few weeks.
The entire football program was the target of criticism. They were ambushed with insults and ridicules. Looking back, was it too harsh? I mean, many jumped to conclusions and threw their opinions out to the public right away.
Letting the situation play out probably enhanced these criticisms. But finally, a press conference with a final statement was held. Explanations were given, questions were answered, and the University as a whole is moving on. Everyone else should follow these men’s lead.
The players will serve their punishments with the law and within the team. The school officials handled the situation their way and stuck to it. The team as a whole hasn’t shown any signs of distraction on the field. Not much more can be asked for.
It is hard to use the word “class” when it comes to a school surrounded in controversy, but I believe NDSU handled the whole situation with class. Although it dragged out, officials followed protocol. And once the court punishments were handed out, Bresciani, Taylor and Bohl issued statements and then simply moved on.
As for this issue, the media coverage has been calm. Articles on the press conference and court case appeared along with some mild columns. Critics were still heard, but not as strong as before. I think it is evident that everyone is ready to move forward.
The voter fraud case will no doubt be brought up at some point later this season. A long playoff run will just reignite the critics. That is bound to happen and I think everyone will embrace it with expectancy.
As of now though, the situation is put to rest. People are tired of writing about it and people are tired of reading about it. And I can speak on the Spectrum’s behalf here when I say coverage of this situation is done with unless some unforeseen incident occurs.