"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Embarrassment of Being an Alum

Earlier today at a youth soccer event in New York, a man darted across the field and struck up a conversation with me. Here's roughly how it went:

Soccer dude: "Are you a Marquette guy? I noticed your hat"
MU Blogger: "Yes, I am an MU grad."
Soccer dude: "That new nickname. What a joke."
MU Blogger: "It makes no sense. I was shocked."
Soccer dude: "I grew up in Whitefish Bay, my folks had season tickets for decades, though I didn't go to Marquette. We used to go to games at the old MECCA together during the glory years. Gold. Can you believe that?"
MU Blogger: "Golden Eagles was bad enough, now this"
Soccer dude: "They'll always be Warriors to me. Sorry about 'Gold'. What were they thinking?"
MU Blogger: "I don't know."

I must admit that before leaving the house this morning I thought about which hat to wear - - I opted for the MU gear, believing that nobody here would care much about the new nickname.

Wrong answer.

Now, everytime I wear my MU gear, I guess I should expect to be drawn into a conversation about 'Gold', and try to explain what the university was thinking. That's sick. I am sure I'm not alone, however. I am now part of the Global MU Nickname Explanation Team. I was 'volunteered' for this assignment.

In a real sense, the BOT unified the entire MU community with this nickname selection. Rather than offending some with Warriors or many with Golden Eagles, they chose to offend everybody with the autocratic, self-righteous selection of a 'nickname'.

What makes this especially troubling is that all of the terrific folks who work in MU's alumni, advancement, and admissions offices have been deployed as part of the Global MU Nickname Explanation Team, forced to defend this whimsical decision. The BOT is largely unaccountable to the general alumni population - - so now the folks who toil daily for MU (and who had nothing to do with this mess) will take years worth of verbal abuse, cynicism, and disenchantment from the community they are paid to nurture. These folks don't deserve this mess. Here's hoping that the MU community rises to the occasion with these fine folks and speaks directly to BOT members.

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