Voter fraud dampens NDSUmood
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 13:09
Times were good. Everyone was riding high. There was nothing to worry about. Then one breaking announcement caused a scurry of panic. Eight current NDSU football players were charged early last week with voter fraud on petitions they were being paid to hand out and get signed. Later that week, two more players were added to that list.
No one knew what this meant, probably because no one expected this to happen. The defending national champions had just walloped Robert Morris and everything looked easy breezy for the Bison this year. Now, no one really knows what’s going to happen.
Craig Bohl announced that disciplinary actions would not be taken until the players have their day in court. That date is now set for Oct. 2.
Bohl’s announcement caused a wave of arguments between Bison fans. The same fans that traveled as a herd to Frisco together to cheer on their team.
Suspend the players. Don’t suspend the players. NDSU football is now looked down on. It was an innocent mistake. On and on and on.
I peaked through the Bisonville forums and was embarrassed on what I saw. So many ridiculous arguments covered the computer screen. Everything from “it’s all politics” to “it’s a UND conspiracy.” Come on, have some pride.
Some did the right thing and acknowledged that it is the players’ fault, which is true. But some did it in the wrong way. You don’t call the players on the team you support brainless, idiots, or selfish. They’re damn college students and from my perspective, this is a lot more innocent than stealing from Best Buy or getting caught with possession.
I’m not saying this isn’t a big deal. Two initiated measures have been barred from the November election ballet in North Dakota. Punishments should, and will, be handed out by the court, even if the players didn’t fully recognize the consequences of their behavior.
What about the team though?
The court date is set for the week after the UNI game. If Bohl continues to let the players play, and NDSU pulls off the big win, there will be a huge black mark next to that victory if the players are found guilty.
So is Bohl doing the right thing?
I believe he is. There is something inside this situation that the no-nonsense Bohl knows. I think he has confidence in the situation because of some unknown factor, and that is why no suspensions have been handed out.
Something I am worried about, though, is NDSU’s reputation taking a hit. The mood from fans has already changed and no court charges have even been filed yet. Nationally, this story has appeared in countless newspapers and websites. That is not the press NDSU wants.
If the players enter a guilty plea, the case could possibly be extended for months. What happens if NDSU makes a long run into the playoffs with these players, and then weeks later, they are found guilty. Does Bohl want the ridicules from other fans and the nation hanging over his head?
Will the players even make a playoff run with the distractions off the field affecting their play on the field?
There are so many questions out there for Bison fans, and the overall mood is taking an evident hit.
I just ask fans to be patient, not jump to conclusions, and stick together. It is easy for fans to be loyal when a national championship is won. The true test is when times like these get tough. The players, the team and the University need support from the fans. I have confidence in this Bison family that that will happen.
For the strength of the Herd is the Bison.
And the strength of the Bison is the Herd.