Something’s not right about extended Grizzlies’ road trip

By Web Master


With temperatures dropping to their most frigid depths of the year and exam season approaching, it’s about time that Oakland University students had something to look forward to.

Normally, we would be in a “hoops frenzy”: talking trash with our friends at Michigan State, memorizing the nuances of the motion offense and counting down the days until OU’s men’s basketball opening home game.

Unfortunately, that won’t happen this year for yet another month and there are getting conflicting reasons behind it.

In September, Director of Athletics Tracy Huth announced that the men’s basketball home opener versus Rochester College, originally scheduled for Nov. 15, had been switched with an away game at Cleveland State Dec. 16.

“With The Summit League Men’s Soccer Championship being held here at Oakland University, along with volleyball and women’s basketball [games already scheduled for Nov. 15], we felt that moving the Rochester College game was in our best interest,” Huth said.

Although this meant that the first nine games of the OU men’s basketball team’s schedule would be on the road and that they wouldn’t play a home game until Dec. 7 against Toledo, the decision was understandable.

With that slate of games already scheduled for Nov. 15, we understood Huth’s reasoning. The security of the students, faculty and student-athletes is of the utmost importance at sporting events. If OU could not confidently ensure us of that, we were happy to sacrifice the men’s basketball game in favor of soccer, volleyball and women’s basketball games.

However, Huth’s account seems to conflict with the reasoning that men’s basketball head coach Greg Kampe gave Friday as to why the home opener was switched.

“It was set, and one of the teams we’re playing [Cleveland State] wanted to move a date, and to entice us to move the date they said they could get Syracuse to play us for two years … and we’re going to make $200,000 playing Syracuse. All of a sudden, you look at that schedule and I didn’t even realize there were nine in a row,” Kampe said.

Renowned programs like Syracuse often pay to play traditionally “weaker” programs like Oakland to pad their record. All of the $200,000 OU makes off of the game will go directly to the university’s athletic department.

Something smells foul in these conflicting accounts and the athletics department does not deserve a free throw.

We respect Kampe’s desire to have his team on a so-called “national stage,” playing in the famous Carrier Dome against the three-time NCAA Tournament Champion Syracuse Orange. We are sure that it will help him immensely in future recruiting and hey, $200,000 is nothing to sneeze at.

We are also sure that the OU men’s basketball team is excited for the opportunity to play David to Syracuse’s Goliath. If this match-up, scheduled for Nov. 21, were televised, we would take great pride and joy in cheering on our classmates to victory.

However, if Kampe’s account is true, we disagree with the decision of the athletics department to reschedule the home opener to Dec. 7.

The excitement on campus is palpable as Kampe prepares to lead his mixture of talented freshmen and all-league veterans such as Johnathon Jones, Derick Nelson and Erik Kangas

to the NCAA Tournament and beyond.

A great effort takes place on campus every day to dilute the “commuter fee.” Decisions such as this (which, if Kampe’s account is true, do not seem to benefit current students in any way) undermine these efforts.

We encourage you to cheer for the OU women’s basketball team in the absence of the men’s team and beyond. As you will read in this issue, head coach Beckie Francis has put together quite a squad of her own that should prove to be just as entertaining and successful as the men’s team.

Let’s show the athletics department that we have a lot of love to give and that we are disgusted that we can’t give it.