Local Sports... Key word: LOCAL!
Stay Classy Long Island... and cover local football!
This has been a generally good 24 hours for Columbia basketball as the men pulled out a 75-70 win over Lehigh last night and the women hung very tough with St. John's this afternoon before falling 75-63. You can see the full details on both games at www.gocolumbialions.com
Hofstra: Day 2
The fallout from the Hofstra decision to cancel football continues today and it will grow. On my show on FOX Business today, we interviewed the Hofstra athletic director Jack Hayes who admitted to us that no one but a select few top administrators had any idea this was coming. Even the former Hofstra president and football player James Shuart, after whom the stadium is named, said he was not consulted. Hayes explained that hinting the death penalty was on the way would have destroyed the Pride's season, and that is probably true. I was living in Cleveland in 1995 when the Browns learned during the season that they were moving to Baltimore in '96, and what had been a very strong team up to that point fell apart on the field for an utterly wasted season.
I spoke with Jerry Recco about the Hofstra situation earlier this afternoon and we both agreed that despite the intense sorrow some of these players feel right now, if some of them end up at, let's say, an Ivy school where they may get more playing time AND a degree from one of the most respected schools in America, then this decision could end up being the best thing that ever happened for them.
I don't think it's proper to name any potential transfers here, but I would be shocked if at least two Hofstra players don't transfer to an Ivy school in the coming weeks.
Another great aspect of this story is the intense interest we're seeing here in the New York area for the Hofstra news. This was the #1 topic for callers to sports radio WFAN yesterday and it led the sports news on the dominant news radio station, 1010 WINS, all day.
This tells me two things:
1) People were angry.
But more importantly 2) There IS a market for college football, even non-BCS college football in New York. The local media just needs to cover it more and cover it better.
When I open my local sports section in my Long Island paper, (Newsday), every Sunday I barely see the smallest piece about the Hofstra game the day before and almost never see anything about Columbia sports.
At the same time, we are innundated with sports columns complaining about the bad conduct of big-time college football players and coaches. Maybe if these guys and gals at the sports desks spent more time covering the high-quality football and even better quality students at places like Hofstra and Columbia, they'd get some new hope for humanity.
Here's another tip: no one is going to the local media for news about the big-time sports programs, especially at the college level. EVERYONE else is covering USC, Florida, Notre Dame and Penn State better than they are. Stop trying to survive by doing someone's else's job much more poorly than they are. You have to find your niche and build on it. Newsday's sports pages on fall Saturdays and Sundays should be all about the local football at the high school and college levels. The paper actually made major strides with high school coverage this year, now with just Stony Brook and Columbia to follow, it should make the leap into college coverage too.
Local TV news is usually hopeless. I used to be a local news TV producer, and the problem is 75% of the people on the air in local news are not from the area and have no interest in anything other than landing a bigger job somewhere else.
But Long Island is different. News 12 Long Island and the new FIOS channel 1 are staffed with a good number of reporters who are here for the long haul and are relatively happy about it. News 12 has been around for 25+ years and has a decent, but still not good enough record covering Long Island sports. FIOS is making some inroads already and could see local sports as a way of cleaning News 12's clock. Let the game's begin!
High School News
Speaking of Long Island, a speedy QB/DB who played high school football not far from the Hofstra campus is at least applying to Columbia.
The Mineola American reports that Mike Escobar is applying to Columbia, but does not say if he expects to play football, is being recruited, or hopes to walk on if accepted.