FARGO-Dear North Dakota State University Athletic Department Overlords:
It is with great humility and respect I write this column. I must beg forgiveness that I did not seek written permission 24 hours in advance for doing so. It is my sincerest hope you see fit in your unprecedented greatness to accept my apology.
If necessary, I shall pay the penance outlined in your updated media coverage guidelines. If you'd be so kind as to leave Mr. Klieman's shoes outside his office, I shall polish them promptly.
But I thought it urgent to write you about those new media rules, which restrict the way some outlets can report from your games. There are those who say the rules put unnecessary restrictions on outlets that don't own the broadcast rights. There are those who say limiting what reporters can write on Twitter during your games is tyrannical. There are those who argue the ones hurt most by the restrictions will be your fans, who will have less information available to them.
There are even those claiming the ban on live broadcasts from the football tailgating lot prior to games is aimed directly at the work my Forum Communications Co. colleagues Jeff Kolpack and Dom Izzo have done for years.
Fools all. Those critics do not understand your unprecedented greatness. They do not grasp how big you have become. They view you only as a small college in a small city that has a very successful Football Championship Subdivision team that is fun to follow. They cannot comprehend you've outgrown the local yokels and are now a national brand.
You must protect that brand, just like Ohio State, Alabama and Oregon do. That is the world in which you reside. Sure you're forced to play South Dakota State, Northern Iowa and Western Illinois, but I know people in Boston, San Francisco and Miami don't view you that way. You are big-time.
That's why the teeth-gnashing over Kolpack and Izzo is so childish. What have they done for you? What coverage have they provided? What following have they helped build? They are yesterday's news, just like the longtime basketball season-ticket holders who are getting squeezed out of your new arena.
Kolpack, in particular, has nothing to gripe about. He deserves to have a rule targeting him. When your family only covers NDSU athletics for 50 years, and Jeff himself for a mere 21 years, you have to accept you just haven't done enough. And that book on NDSU football he is releasing later this month? Rumor around the office is that it's not entirely reverential toward the Bison.
As far as Izzo goes, pfft. East Coast newcomer who only works 70 hours a week. Sure, he helped raise NDSU coverage to a new level. But not a high-enough level. He's no Kirk Herbstreit. Bum.
That's why I'd actually be in favor of putting more restrictions on Kolpack and Izzo. They've been complaining a lot about these new restrictions. You need to teach them who's boss, remind them just how massive you are.
I suggest you send an addendum to the new policy that requires Kolpack and Izzo to:
-- Never make direct eye contact with football coach Chris Klieman or men's basketball coach Dave Richman.
-- Always refer to NDSU president Dean Bresciani as "His Eminence" and athletic director Matt Larsen as "His Excellency."
-- Walk two steps behind any athletic department employee and never speak until spoken to.
-- Submit, in calligraphy on parchment paper, all postgame press conference questions by 5 p.m. the Thursday before the game. All questions must be pre-approved by His Excellency, and notarized, before they will be asked. Kolpack and Izzo will be limited to 1½ questions each and no question can be longer than four words (two words for the half-questions). None of the questions will be approved.
-- Ask only the following question of all players during weekly press conferences: "How great are you?"
-- Kiss director of broadcasting Jeremy Jorgenson's ring upon entering any athletic venue.
That should send a message. I recognize Fargo and the state of North Dakota are no longer big enough for you. I recognize the next step in your growth is to uproot the entire athletic department and move it to Alabama so you can join the Southeastern Conference. We're just lucky you've graced us with your presence this long. It's time others see it, too.
I sincerely apologize if I've taken too much of your precious time. I know how valuable it is, compared to mine. If I have in any way violated the new coverage guidelines by writing this, I will perform the second penance defined in your rules: Scrubbing His Excellency's tires with a toothbrush.
Your Humble Media Servant,