Troy State SID misquoted in Middle paper

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 21, 2003

No one in the newspaper business will admit to getting column ideas from fan Web sites (because, as you know, we never read them), but I have to help out my friend Tom Strother.

None of you know I was a double major in college. Aside from my journalism major, I also completed an English degree. So, if you see me around Troy and would like to discuss Charles Dickens instead of Atlantic Sun basketball, I can probably humor you.

As an English major, I will now teach all of you the value of good grammar.

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The wailing, weeping and gnashing of teeth on the Troy State fan site was overwhelming when someone ran across an article in the Middle Tennessee State student newspaper.

Only a few months ago, I was working on a student newspaper, so I can tell you they are not always the best source of pertinent information. Their purpose is to teach people how to write and how to report.

The article in question proves the point.

This article, written by Erich Heinlein, quoted Troy State SID Tom Strother as saying, "Right now, we are in the early stages of the process (of joining the Sunbelt)." Actually, that is what it meant to say, but the article actually said, "Right now we are the early stages," and that doesn't make any sense at all.

The next line says, "Our ultimate goal is to gain membership in a I-A conference. However, it does not appear that this will happen."

The horror and depression, though, came from the assumption that Strother said that entire line.

For all of you who are worried sick, please rest assured. The SID of Troy State is not throwing up his hands in despair.

Actually, Heinlein needs to return to his ninth-grade English class.

My good buddy actually stopped talking after the word, "conference." That next line was the author's sentence, not Strother's.

So, the Troy State SID spent the early part of the week trying to quiet rumors that the Trojans would not get an invitation.

"I just can't seem to avoid controversy," Strother said Tuesday.

The point of this English lesson is to calm any TSU football fan down.

This football season illustrated the dire need the Trojans have to join a conference. The board of presidents for the Sunbelt Conference will meet in March and any news about Troy State will not come before then.

That does not mean that it will come then, because new NCAA rules regarding conference numbers take effect in 2005, so the conference does not have to make a decision now.

Also, the conference is unsure what it will get from some schools. The University of Idaho, recently invited to become a full-time member, is facing opposition from some people in the state who don't think an Idaho at Florida International home-and-home series in women's basketball is very profitable.

Louisiana-Monroe has considered moving back to I-AA or dropping its football program completely. There are many factors that may be decided by March, but do not necessarily have to be.

The only news to report is that the Sunbelt is actually looking at Troy State and evaluating the school. That is more than the conference was doing a couple of months ago.

If Troy State does not become a full member, there are other options as well. Football-only status is still a viable option and may be the most economically feasible.

All of us want news to break, but we probably will not hear anything for at least a couple of months. But if no news comes out of the spring meetings, don't despair. There are many options still around.

And don't trust everything you read in a student newspaper.

By Micah Lewter