Southeast fans got to experience reality

Monday, March 1, 2004

dwilson

"Experience excitement. Experience Southeast."

Wasn't that the slogan the marketing department slapped on Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team this year?

Experience reality.

Southeast has suffered three consecutive losing seasons. And attendance at the Show Me Center, the House that Shumate built, has gradually declined each year.

The program, which was in shambles when Gary Garner was hired and appeared to be on the rise soon afterwards, now has no definite direction. It is neither up nor down, it is floating somewhere near mediocrity.

It would cost Southeast, a university hellbent on cutting cost wherever it can, nearly $200,000 to release Garner from his remaining two years on his contract. Plus, it would cost the university at least that much to hire a new coach.

On the other side of the bill, it won't be long until season ticket holders and boosters start threatening to pull their money if changes aren't made, costing the school even more revenue.

So Kaverman's position is a difficult one.

But it seems simple to me: If Southeast wants to compete at a Division I level, then it must run a Division I program no matter what conference it is in. The school cannot simply let the program slip into mediocrity.

For weeks, I've wanted to comment on the Central High School boys basketball team fiasco but I haven't found the right words (imagine that). But it turns out, I don't have to because Darla Craft, in her letter yesterday, took the words right out of my column. Well done.

Take the stress right out of your week with a quick look at your week ahead:

Tuesday

  • The Southeast women's program is a different story, though. B.J. Smith has the team on the rise and they could be back in the OVC title game for the second year in a row. It starts at home with a 7 p.m. first-round game against Murray State.

    When the Blues host the Flames, QT and Pepsi will give away Nesting Dolls to the first 5,000 fans. Can someone tell me what the heck a nesting doll is? Oh yeah, take your I.D. because it's also student night at 7 p.m.

    Wednesday

    The "most exciting team in the area" is back in action this week. Louisville visits the Savvis Center to take on the Billikens at 7 p.m.

    Friday

    Pending the outcome of Tuesday's games, Southeast could be in the semifinals of the OVC tournament Friday in Nashville.

    Saturday

    Southeast's baseball team will host its first home game, a doubleheader against Brescia at 1 p.m.

    Sunday

    Usually at Missouri basketball home games the crowd chants, "M-I-Z!" and then the other side of the Hearnes Center, "Z-O-U!" But when Kansas is in town the students change it up a little. Instead of, "Z-O-U", it's something unprintable about KU. I'm not condoning it, I'm just saying. 1 p.m.

    David Wilson is a sportswriter for the Southeast Missourian and a student at Central High School. His column appears every Monday.

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