Division 1-A means more exposure for Troy State

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Sports Columnist

Can you believe it? Troy State’s next football game is in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Yes, on Sept. 1, 2001, Troy State open its first Division 1-A season against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

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Hopefully, Trojan faithful from all over the country will be there for this momentous occasion.

If you’re going to go Division 1-A, why not start by playing against the strongest college football program in America? The Huskers have contracted Troy State to open their 2001 and 2002 seasons in Lincoln. The pay off for the two games is $950,000. That kind of money can help build a strong Division 1-A program at Troy State.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to start making your travel arrangements now. Air fare is usually less expensive if you buy your tickets months in advance.

In fact, a travel package to Lincoln, College Park (Md.), or Miami (Fla.) would make a nice Christmas gift for a Trojan football fan.

The attendance Saturday was an embarrassment! Just a little over 5,000 fans paid to see the game. The 5,000 Trojan fans that did attend the game saw a good one. They were vocal and into the game, especially in the fourth quarter when our Trojans almost pulled it out. TSU turned the ball over three times and had a muffed kick, all of which led to three Appalachian State scores. You take away those turnovers on the 3, 18 and 31 yard-lines and we’re playing Western Kentucky at Memorial Stadium this Saturday afternoon. It was one of the best college match-ups in Memorial Stadium history and we drew a high school size crowd.

Hopefully, the reason the crowd was so small on Saturday was that it was the Thanksgiving Holidays and our fans wanted to spend all their time at home with their families. I know there’s at least 100,000 football fans within a 50 mile radius of Troy. We’re located in an area that is presumed to be football country, why the crowd didn’t show up is a mystery to me.

I wonder if we were playing Division 1-A schools like Wake Forest, Memphis, North Texas, Tulane or Central Florida at home, would we be able to fill our stadium?

Hopefully, we could. I think next season our fans will rally in support for Division 1-A. I’m talking about Trojan fans and alumni from all over the country. I think we’ll take two or 3,000 fans with us to Nebraska, Maryland, Mississippi State, Miami and possibly UAB. These are huge road games in Division 1-A and we need proud Trojan fans to march with us into those arenas of battle.

If you’re not a Trojan now, you need to see me and I’ll read you the oath.

Repeat after me:

"I (your name here) pledge all of my support and enthusiasm to Troy State’s move into big time college football. I will be proud to wear the name Troy State University across my chest if necessary. Win or lose, I will be willing to announce to any audience regardless of who they think they are that we WE ARE TROY STATE!"

We need all of you to prepare now to make a stand for Troy State and Division 1-A football. As I’ve said many times the move to Division 1-A in football is not just for athletics. It’s a move that will mean growth and prosperity for our university and our community. The reason the Alabama’s and the Auburn’s have so much fan support is that they play big time college football. Most young people see bigger as being better when they look at a university. I believe that TSU’s move to Division 1-A and big time college football will be perceived by potential college students as being bigger and better. I think our business and accounting departments will attract better student, as will all of TSU’s academic programs. I think students will want to be a part of the Sound of the South Band more then ever because of the large arenas they’ll be playing in. As the school grows, so will our community.

The exposure you get nationally for your school in Division 1-A is worth the move in itself. We’ll now be recognized in all of the national football publications and media guides, even the Las Vegas oddsmaker’s will spread the news about Troy State nationwide. People who have never heard about Troy State of Alabama will know who we are and where we’re from.

Next season’s opening game at Nebraska will give Troy State more exposure nationally then it has ever received at any time in its existence. The exposure far out-weighs any of our national championships.

All you’ve got to do is ask someone who won the Division 1-AA national championship last year and you’ll see how little exposure you get in 1-AA.

The last week of August 2001, you can ask any football fan in America who Nebraska opens the season against and they’ll tell you Troy State of Alabama.

The name of the game in big time college athletics is money and exposure. We want to have them both.

Go Trojans! Beat the Cornhuskers!