News From Terre Haute, Indiana

From the Press Box

September 20, 2009

Bad times are when ISU football will know who its friends are

Brookings, S.D. — These are the dark times for the Indiana State football program, the times when faith is tested and when hope is hard to come by.

The Sycamores filed off Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in defeat for the 30th straight time on Saturday after South Dakota State defeated the Sycamores 41-0. Without any offense to speak of — ISU had 90 yards of total offense against the Jackrabbits — the Sycamores had no chance.

Terre Haute mayor Duke Bennett was one of the few friends of the program who made the long trek to the Dakota prairie to watch the Sycamores get cut down again. But what really matters is the friends the program, and head coach Trent Miles, have at home.

The numbers don’t lie. ISU’s losing streak is the fourth-longest in Division I history. The only teams “ahead” of ISU on the all-time losing streak list are Northwestern (34 losses), Columbia (44) and Prairie View A&M; (80).

It’s understandable that some fans have turned a blind eye. You can’t blame anyone for being apathetic when they’re not thrown a victory bone once in a while. The Old Testament’s Job has nothing on ISU football fans.

Apathy is one thing. What isn’t as understandable are ISU fans who want to throw up their hands and quit. Either on the program itself or on Miles’ stewardship of it.

Ever since an admittedly embarrassing loss to Quincy, the “drop football” voices have once again emerged. They’ve been around as long as I’ve been covering the team, but the volume of the voices is usually determined by which way the wind blows as far as the Sycamores’ ebbs and flows on their odyessy to respectibility.

Dropping football at ISU, to me, is a complete non-starter.

The administration just installed field turf and built a new locker room. I’m just spitballing here, but the only way to recoup that money by dropping football would be to add men’s soccer and house it in the current football facilities. ISU has to add a sport if it drops one as it is at the minimum amount of sponsored sports to remain Division I.

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