Wednesday, August 23, 2006

LSU talk is BS

The following is a letter I sent to the Times of Acadiana. In the Aug. 16 issue, guest writer (and friend) Susan Gonzalez capped off a series of articles on UL college preparation with a tongue-in-cheek blurb entitled, "Five reasons why I hate LSU." I can't find it online anymore, but the tips broke down to this:

1) Don't wear LSU stuff on campus.
2) You can't bleed purple and gold. Only UL red.
3) We're nicer than LSU is toward opposing fans at our football games.
4) LSU swims in money, while UL had to slash all Friday afternoon classes.
5) If LSU is going to mistakenly refer to us as ULL, then we'll call them by their full name, LSU-BR A&M.

Even though the article was devoid of any real hatred, and actually highlighted some very real issues in the rivalry between the two schools, it led to some bitter, bitter, bitter vitriol from Tiger fans:

I think the real reason that Susan is upset is that she was probably turned down by LSU admissions and was left to flounder at ULL. Obviously, she still can’t make the grade since she’s a fifth-year student.

We’re doing ULL and every other state school a favor when we decide to host them. That’s right, when ULL comes to Baton Rouge on opening day for the slaughter, they’re assured at least a $400,000 take. Not a bad tradeoff huh: take an ass-whipping and leave with $400,000. [...] ULL fans should be thanking Skip Bertman for allowing your athletes on our campus.

To allow your newspaper to participate in this continuous assault on LSU by the hard core ULL supporters, who are a small minority of the local population, seems ridiculous.

I only hope for your sake the next time you go to a doctor he didn’t graduate from ULL, because do you know what they call a doctor that graduates at the bottom of his class? They still call him Doctor!!!!!!

Nice, huh? Well, you know me; I can't stay quiet about this! My response to all of this is below. Check out Nick's take as well.

LSU must be pleased to have such thoughtful commentary emanate from its midst. Does Tiger Fever affect the part of the brain that regulates civility?

First off, it’s unfair to personally attack Susan Gonzalez. She is a friendly and intelligent person, and not a Louisiana native. She’s here because she wants to be, just like most Ragin’ Cajuns.

I spent seven years at UL, earning two degrees. With my grades and scores, I could have easily attended LSU. But I simply preferred Lafayette over Baton Rouge. Both cities and both schools have distinct personalities, so that only made sense.

Second, we’re not jealous of LSU’s football team, though LSU seems to be resentful of ours. What compels LSU fans to salivate at the prospect of beating UL? We all know who has the larger fan base and the state’s support. I can only assume that the Tigers’ pathological need to crush UL stems from some insecurity. Imagine what would happen if UL ever did beat LSU in football; I wouldn’t want to work the suicide hotlines that night!

But even if LSU beats UL 222-0, I doubt it’ll devastate UL fans. Why? Because our football team is just one aspect of UL pride. We’re also proud of our other sports (which beat LSU on a regular basis), our academic programs and our social activities. On the other hand, I can’t remember the last time ANY argument for LSU wasn’t 90 percent about the football team.

Finally, the LSU community does itself no service by allowing such a mean-spirited and condescending attitude represent the Tigers. It doesn’t change our minds, but does reinforce our resentment toward the state bully.

Tiger fans say that UL is no LSU, and it isn’t. And I couldn’t be happier about that.

Ian McGibboney


Nick said...

Hopefully we'll get a forum for our responses.

Have you checked out Ragin Pagin yet. I just discovered it Monday b/c I was receiving a bunch of hits from it. It was regarding my post where I responded to Highland Road Blog's commentary about non-LSU schools. Apparently someone dug it up from my archives and it was the subject of a thread.

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick, I took your address off the comment thread (things like that have a way of biting you back), but I will see what I can do. If I'm not able to, could you get it online? Or I could scan it for you. However you want it.

I checked out Ragin Pagin. It all seemed outdated. Is there anything pertaining to this latest clash? If so, I'm extremely eager to read it.

Cajun Tiger said...

The link on Nick's page takes me to a response to the article, so it must have been removed already. Based on the list you have attached I would have laughed. I would expect nothing less the week before the big game. People definitely need to get a sense of humor.

Based on parts of Nick's comments I don't know what exactly was said about Mike's cage, but he totally needed a bigger cage (which I'm sure as a lib you agree with ;) and it was paid for by private donations. Other than away b/c like it's been said, I know I have all in good fun.

Ian McGibboney said...

Here's what was said about Mike the Tiger, courtesy of Susan's facebook page:

"4. LSU’s mascot, Mike the Tiger, has a new 3 million dollar, 15,000 square foot facility. UL has faced huge post-Katrina budged cuts and can only keep the university open 4.5 days a week to cut down on utility costs. I mean, no ones is complaining about not having Friday afternoon classes…but it is the principle of the matter."

It isn't so much a stab at the mascot as it is about the financial differences in the two schools. Still, it was amusing to read a rebuttal about affording a carrier for our bulldog. We haven't had a bulldog for more than a decade. I wish that the hardcore UL haters would at least have a clue about what they're hating.

CT, you have the right idea. It's supposed to be fun.

Becky said...

You know, it's times like this, after reading these comments by LSU supporters, I'm more and more determined to wear red on September 1st (it's "Wear Red Day" at UL), and make sure the kiddos are wearing red too.

Damn it all, Ian, you've made me grumpy today. :-P

Nick said...

Yeah Icon, there was a thread I started over there about this whole ordeal. It got alot of people stirred up. There's actually quite a bit of updated topics on there.

Pondering American said...

Hmm I didnt know ULL was incorrect? Why is that. I mean the former NLU is called ULM

Pondering American said...

Oh by the way the Ragin Pagin page was kinda of weird. I went to the direct link and it also looked outdated. But I found another link that seems to come up with the recent entry. I have the update this list of threads but this might help

Ian McGibboney said...

The correct nomenclature is UL Lafayette, though most locals refer to it as UL.

"ULL" is a sore point for the UL community because we never wanted the name "University of Louisiana at Lafayette" name in the first place. The school lobbied for more than 25 years to be named the University of Louisiana, even succeeding briefly in 1984 before LSU objected.

In 1999, the UL Board (which regulates all state universities expect LSU, but is staffed largely with LSU Board members) ruled that having a true University of Louisiana would violate LSU's "flagship" status. So they said they would grant us the UL name if (and only if) another school applied for it at the same time. This is why we now have UL Lafayette and UL Monroe, two schools that have zero to do with each other. From what I hear, UL Monroe generally considers UL Lafayette to be the true UL.

When LSU refers to us as "ULL," it reminds us of two things: 1) that LSU does not respect us enough to call us by our actual name and 2) that their crooked politics are the reason we are saddled with that name in the first place. So yes, it's a VERY sore point.

As for Ragin Pagin: it was tricky, but I eventually found the current material. I also compared it to the aptly named Tiger Droppings, and I have to say there's an enormous difference in attitude. But even the humility-challenged LSU posters tend to favor Lafayette over Baton Rouge as a city. Ha ha!

JohnStOnge said...

All other things aside, as an objective matter, I don't think "ULL" is used "almost exclusively by LSU fans." I think it's very commonly used by most people in Louisiana who aren't part of the UL Lafayette community. In fact, I think the truth is that "UL" is the term used almost exclusively by one group of people...and that group is the UL Lafayatte community.

Not saying there are no exceptions. But I personally have never heard/seen anybody who's not a UL Lafayette fan call the school "UL" except for one LSU guy who first called the school "ULL" in what was a respectful post then had one of the Cajun faithful respond "we're UL, not ULL." So the LSU edited his post to read "UL."

JohnStOnge said...

"1) that LSU does not respect us enough to call us by our actual name and."

Dude, it's not the school's "actual name." The school's actual name has "Lafayette" in it and that point was emphasized during all the political activity you mentioned.

Yes, you would LIKE for it to be its actual name. That's what your community wanted. That's what your community tried to do. But you did not succeed and the agreement that allowed your community to change the name at all made it clear that the town location would be emphasized.

It's pretty clear that the desire was to avoid having one school known as "the" University of Louisiana.

Ian McGibboney said...

JohnStOnge, you clearly don't read your own campus newspaper. Check out today's blog entry (Aug. 31).

Morever, virtually every single LSU person who has written to the Times of Acadiana, posted on a UL or LSU online forum or has talked to me this week has repeatedly referred to us as ULL. You guys could say UL Lafayette, if you wanted to actually get it right with that regional designation you love so much.

We know that our name change was blocked by LSU politics. We also know that LSU's real name is LSU-BR A&M. If anyone should use their real name as a designator, it's you. After all, you're the one with satellite campuses, not us. UL Monroe has nothing to do with UL Lafayette, and everyone outside of Baton Rouge knows that.

As for the desire that no one school be named the University of Louisiana, that's LSU's desire alone. This is a sad portrait of higher education in Louisiana. Most other states are just fine having several thriving universities, whereas Baton Rouge has choked that off for decades. Excuse us if we choose not to play along.

Patrick said...

Who gives a shit

Ian McGibboney said...

Apparently you do, since you took the time to sign in and tell me you don't care.

Amanda said...

I graduated from UL in December of 2005, and I'm just going to say that I am incredibly relieved to be rid of that school. I do not, have not, and will never support that school, either financially or otherwise. I hope that whoever sees that stupid brick with my name on it wherever it might be smashes the damn thing, because I do NOT want to have my name anywhere on that campus.

As far as LSU goes: Hello, they're a bigger school! Naturally they're going to get more money! Start thinking rationally about this, if you can. I've noticed that whenever ULL doesn't get its way in something, it's automatically the fault of LSU. Whine...whine...whine...

And people wonder why I loathe UL Lafayette.

Ian McGibboney said...

OK, Amanda, here's what I don't understand: if you hate UL Lafayette so much (and I'd like to know why), why did you go there? I had my share of problems there too, but I loved the school. And I certainly would have found some way to go elsewhere - such as LSU - had I not felt that way. Take your self-loathing to someone licensed.

As it is, you chose to go there and graduate. And you deserve that brick.