Social Media Let Down

You'd think that a BCS National Championship would be a social media phenomenon on Facebook, right? Well, according to the Oregon Ducks official Facebook fan page, there is no mention of it on their events tab. In fact, their most recent event promotion was the 2010 Rose Bowl, more than 13 months ago. Before that, there were only five total events, dating back to 2008, skipping many crucial match ups, including the 2009 Holiday Bowl victory against Oklahoma State. There's also no indication of upcoming events since the Rose Bowl against Ohio State, almost as if the creator lost faith in posting after a BCS let down on a national stage.

Also, many sports teams will include several websites, Twitters, and other information on their Facebook; the Oregon Ducks page does not. It only mentions the University establishment date in 1876, and the about section states, “There's something about the Oregon Ducks.” Cute. But, not informative or interesting about one of the most watched football programs across the country.

The informal organization continues to the wall. Instead of posts about the Ducks – which would make sense considering it is the Ducks fan page – it's filled with news about the Super Bowl, girls in green and yellow swimsuits, among other college humor.

Yes, it's a college website, but it should still maintain some sort of professional organization. There's no mention anywhere on the website about the basketball team or the $290 million Matthew Knight Arena. The hockey and track team are displayed in caption-less pictures, where it's hard to guess what exactly is going on. The rest of the pictures are just zoomed out takes of the Rose Bowl crowd, which with all the green and yellow, looks like an average Saturday at Autzen Stadium – also not pictured on the page.

As if all the boarderline importance isn't enough to cram the Oregon Ducks Facebook page, there's even spam on the wall. You'd think at a University with 24,000 students looking to amplify their resumes, combined with the 134,000 Facebook fans, someone would step up to enhance the Facebook page. It's possible that no one has updated the page since the Rose Bowl, especially when the only video on this social media outlet is when Puddles got in a mascot fight against the Houston Cougar three years ago. Hopefully this changes soon, as the Ducks look to return to the national title game in New Orleans next year, which is definitely something to brag about on Facebook.

~Jacob Rogers~


A Bikram Yoga Stretch

Cam Newton’s name was butchered around campus, because he appears to be getting away with athletic violations at the University of Auburn. Whether or not Newton and the Auburn athletic department are guilty remains to be unknown. However, the University of Oregon is on the other side of a separate claim. Rather than facing teams with violations, the Ducks are side-stepping questions about former Center Michael Dunigan.

Dunigan signed with an agent and fled the country to play professional basketball in Europe. The Register-Guard reported that the University of Oregon athletic department allegedly violated NCAA rules when recruiting the seven foot center.

Normally schools defend these claims, with well thought out answers. Oregon, however, refuses to say anything about it. Instead, they’re hiding behind a bikram yoga stretch of the Buckley Amendment. The Buckley Amendment, also known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, blocks the public’s right to know what’s going on with a student.

Rather than dig deeper into the investigation, an anonymous Register-Guard reporter called the now retired Buckley and asked what he thought about implementing the self-named amendment on this situation. Buckley replied with distaste of the issue, saying this does not constitute an educational record as defined by the federal statute. UO officials, on the other hand, disagree, saying that athletics is indeed private.

What exactly should be broadcasted to the people of Eugene and the country about Michael Dunigan’s recruiting and of athletes across the nation? No, they’re not paid to endure the type of negative publicity professional athletes endure, but where does the gray area end and public opinion begin?

If an athlete or university is caught violating NCAA rules and regulations, the public should be notified in full. It’s better than ESPN covering half-stories on the topic, which creates exaggerated stories about issues that may or may not be accurate. Exaggerated stories filled with lies are the kind of publicity that college athletes don’t deserve, so get the truth out there and have the violators deal with public consequence.

~Jacob Rogers~


Out With the Old and In With the New

The Oregon Ducks debuted their home Pac-10 schedule against The USC Trojans at the $227 million replacement for the aged but beloved McArthur Court last Thursday. An opening ceremony combined with a speech from Nike CEO Phil Knight warmed the hearts of the sold out crowd before the Ducks first Pac-10 win this year. Many doubters claimed that “it’s the same old team in a brand new venue.” However, the Ducks shocked viewers on regional TV with a 68-62 win over the Trojans that night, playing their best game thus far under Coach Dana Altman.

The arena is named after Nike CEO Phil Knight's late son, Matthew. The Knight family donated $100 million to the year long project, creating one of the most controversial playing fields in sports history, comparable to Boise State's blue turf. Nike designer Tinker Hatfield designed the slogan on the court, “Deep in the Woods,” which fits perfectly with the unique portrait displayed around the floor. The trees are meant to intimidate opposing teams, adding to the home court advantage teams already have in college basketball. The incline of the stands is also at the maximum grade allowed by architects, so opponents will feel shadowed by the ruckus Oregon noise. Autzen Stadium is nationally considered to be one of the toughest places to play, the Ducks hope that Matthew Knight can become the Autzen Stadium of college basketball

Matthew Knight Arena houses 12,400 seats, an increase of more than 3,000 in capacity than old venue, McArthur Court and is now one of the largest college arenas on the west coast. While it may not match the 33,000 seats of the Carrier Dome, the stylish court and Nike sponsorship throws in a sense of pizzazz that even Syracuse can't match.

But there's more to Matthew Knight arena than the revamped floor and attempts of sparking hope back into the men's basketball program. Knight may have paid $100 million for the arena but he isn't receiving much praise outside of Eugene. He'll make the money back quickly with all the free advertising Nike gets out the new arena that much isn't hard to understand. But the rest of the funds had to come from somewhere. Apparently the State of Oregon took out a $200 million debt issue in the name of the tax payers to cover additional costs. However, due to interest charges some expect this bill to reach close to $400 million before it’s entirely paid off.

Many critics have a problem with this debt, as well as the name of the arena. Some claim that if Oregon tax payers are paying $400 million for this arena, then it should be named “The Oregon Taxpayers Arena,” but that's ludicrous. People have paid for sports for over a century. Sometimes I stop and wonder why I'm paying to watch college or professional sports, when I can just as easily run to the gym and play basketball on my own. And if I can do it, then so can the rest of the Oregon tax payers. But guess what? We don't. Or if we do, we still pay to watch sports anyway, especially in this state, because the Blazers have sold out 130 straight games. Ducks football has sold out 73 straight games and Matthew Knight Arena may be starting a similar streak as soon as the team puts together a few victories and returns to the NCAA Tournament. It's only been four years since the Ducks reached the Elite Eight, where they lost 85-77 to the Florida Gators, who won the national championship that year. Coach Altman is no stranger to that tournament, entering March Madness eight times since 1991.

So, for all of the doubters, sit back and relax. The majority of complainers come from sports journalists anyway. The same people who haven’t missed a Ducks football or basketball game in years. It isn’t like Phil Knight named the arena after himself. Until I see a lights shining around “Uncle Phil’s Stadium,” I will have all the respect in the world for the man. Plus, he pushed $100 million into the pot, which is the only reason this project was a possibility. And then he names it after his son who tragically passed in a scuba diving accident in his mid thirties? Amen to Uncle Phil.

~Jacob Rogers~

What a Year!

The 2010 season is now over and the Ducks completed their best season in school history. Although they did not beat Auburn in Glendale, the team still deserves recognition. SEC blogs and reports boast that “them Orygun boys couldn't live up to a real defense,” “Orygun was never in that game,” or “when push came to shove, Orygun wasn't able to match up with the tough SEC.”

It's true that when it's all said and done, a win's a win and a loss is a loss. But to say that the Ducks weren't competitive at the Natty is ludacris. Darron Thomas played his heart out, scampering away from All-American Nick Fairley, in order to complete 27 of 40 for 363 yards with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. Cliff Harris led the defense with an interception and a fumble recovery, he nearly had a second interception one play before Cam Newton threw a 35 yard touchdown to give Auburn a 7-3 lead. Had Harris held onto that ball before tumbling out-of-bounds, the game may have changed drastically.

But of course there's no way Harris holds onto that ball, because the Ducks were never in the game, right? When Darron Thomas found LaMichael James for a late touchdown, followed by a two-point conversion to tie the game, the Ducks still weren't in it, were they?

Regardless of what the SEC biased country says, they may just need to watch the tape again. Had LaMichael James scored on the 3rd and 2 from the Auburn 3 on the first play of the second quarter the game would have been different. Or if Lavasier Tuinei scored in the third quarter, or Kenyon Barner scored on any of the four plays to come things may have changed. Oh and don't forget about the safety the Tigers squeaked out to give them a crucial two points. I'm not trying to make excuses for the Ducks, Auburn is a very, very good team, but it was a lot closer than the SEC biased bloggers and reporters think. The Ducks were very close to celebrating in Glendale.

The Ducks may have fallen short to the SEC West Champion Auburn Tigers 10 days ago, but they will get another shot on opening day in the 2011 season, when they travel to Dallas to play the LSU Tigers. Many of the same SEC bloggers who claim that Auburn rolled over the Ducks in the National Title Game, brag that the Ducks won't match up to Les Miles and the Tigers.

If the SEC can be biased, then why can't the Pac-12? Look for the Ducks to roll into Oregon, having won 15 straight regular season games, with no hopes of breaking that streak.

I know all of us Ducks fans wanted and expected to win in Glendale, but don't hang your heads. Cam Newton's and Jim Harbaugh ran away to the NFL and that leaves the door wide open for a repeat appearance in the 2012 National Title Game next January at the Superdome in New Orleans.

So, sit back, relax, and while you get ready for the Tigers in September, watch Ducks Basketball take place on brand new Matthew Knight Arena's wacky floor.

I love my Ducks!

~Jacob Rogers~


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