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    Delaware-Delaware State - The Rivalry That Never Was

    While some fans on both sides of the aisle are of the opinion that the Iowa/ISU series should be axed, Delaware refuses to schedule Delaware St, and apparently without good reason.

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    Is race the reason Delaware won't play Delaware State?
    Pearlman

    By Jeff Pearlman
    Special to Page 2
    (Archive | Contact)

    Updated: September 20, 2007, 4:11 PM ET

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    Dear Delaware football recruit:

    On behalf of alumni across the nation, I would like to congratulate you on being recruited to play football at the University of Delaware. As you know, our Blue Hens are six-time national champions and perennially one of the top Division I-AA programs in the country. We have produced dozens of NFL players, ranging from Rich Gannon and Scott Brunner to Ivory Sully and Mike Adams. With our explosive passing attack, I am confident that a wide receiver like you could thrive here.

    I also have been informed, however, that you are a student of character, decency and open-mindedness. That, more than anything, is why I am writing this letter: to urge you (and your fellow recruits) not to attend my beloved university.

    That's right. Say no to the Blue Hens.

    Allow me to be blunt. The University of Delaware's persistent refusal to face Delaware State University in football is cowardly, pig-headed, self-righteous and, worst of all, oozing with racism. As you might know, the two schools -- separated by a mere 50-minute drive from Newark to Dover -- are both ranked in the top 25 of Division I-AA polls. For more than 30 years now, Delaware State has tried to arrange a football game with Delaware, only to be rebuffed time after time. "Name the place and the day, and we'll be there," Rick Costello, Delaware State's athletic director, told me recently. "Delaware-Delaware State would be great for the state, for the students, for ticket sales and school spirit. It's a natural, isn't it?"

    You would think so. But within the Delaware athletic department, a law has been established that the Blue Hens will never, ever, ever, ever, ever schedule the Hornets. "We're interested in exploring, but there's no flexibility," Edgar Johnson, the school's athletic director, once told me. "Anyhow, when you begin playing each other it becomes divisive."

    I know. Mississippi-Mississippi State. Georgia-Georgia Tech. UCLA-USC. Washington-Washington State. Oregon-Oregon State. UNLV-Nevada. Texas-Texas A&M. Virginia-Virginia Tech. Florida-Florida State. Arizona-Arizona State. Duke-North Carolina. All in-state rivalries, all tearing apart the fabric of regional bliss.

    "What a joke," Al Lavan, Delaware State's football coach, told me. "I've been a part of many state rivalries in my career, and they're better than bowl games. Anyone who thinks otherwise has no idea what he's talking about.

    "No," says Lavan, "there has to be more to this than just that."

    Indeed there is. Unlike the wealthy, white-as-snow University of Delaware (African-American enrollment: 6 percent), Delaware State is a small black college lacking in prestige, finances and facilities (its stadium holds 6,800 spectators; Delaware's holds 22,000). The school came to be in 1891 only because the men running the First State wished not to allow blacks into their grand university. Under the Morrill Act, a state either could open its public educational facilities to all peoples, or start a separate-but-equal school for blacks. Hence, Delaware State.

    In the ensuing 116 years, Delaware has treated Delaware State not as academic/athletic brethren, but as a piece of gum affixed to the bottom of its loafer. Del. State is where the scary black people congregate, where "those" types of folk go to college. "You wanna know what I think?" Kevin Tresolini, the Wilmington News Journal's veteran college writer, told me. "I think there are some old rich white guys in the University of Delaware's upper power structure who are afraid this little black school might steal their thunder. They're afraid that if Delaware State beats them it'll raise their stature and lower the University of Delaware's. But I look at it two ways: (a) It's just football, and (b) as an institute of higher learning, aren't you supposed to do the righteous thing?"

    Yes, you are. Instead of righteousness, though, the University of Delaware hides behind one lame excuse after another. In the spring of 1991, I wrote an article for The Review, Delaware's student newspaper, titled "Delaware vs. Delaware State: The Sports Rivalry That Never Was." Looking back at the yellowed clip, what leaps off the page is the staggering lameness of Johnson's reasoning. "If you glance at our football schedule," he said, "we're fully scheduled until the year 2000." Forget that college schedules are made to be broken, or that one of the teams Delaware plays annually is the mighty Golden Rams of Division II West Chester (a "traditional rival" the Hens recently stomped for a 14th straight time), or that Johnson arranged a game for last season with the University of Albany and an upcoming clash against South Dakota State, or that Delaware State would be willing to come to Newark in a second's notice.

    Oh, yeah. There's also the ol' nobody-wants-to-see-it argument popularized on GoHens.net, a site for blinded Delaware football fans who forget that UD students (oh, them) surely would prefer a game with passion and heart and oomph to yet another battle with, uhg, West Chester "That's what we need to remember here," said Lavan. "At its core, college football is for the students. Not for the alumni, not for the boosters. What do the students want to experience?"

    I'm certain you're curious what Johnson and Delaware coach K.C. Keeler have to say about all this. So am I. Unlike the men of Delaware State, however, nobody from Delaware had the guts or principle to express himself, despite my requests for interviews. I've been told that Keeler is open to playing Delaware State, but that his hands are tied. I've been told that Johnson is open to playing Delaware State, but that his hands are tied, too. I've been told that this whole thing has nothing to do with race or class or the fright of losing to an in-state school, and that I'm making a big whoop-to-do out of nothing. I've been told that the Keebler Elf resides in my left shoe, right next to Max Venable and Erin Moran; that Tupac is alive and well and skinning emus in Melbourne; that dogs fly and cats dance; and that Oprah is really a one-legged truck driver named Stu.

    In the end, it doesn't matter what we're told. What matters is who we are. What we stand for. What's right and what's wrong, and which side we opt to represent. Are we willing to speak out for what we believe, or do we say nothing and go along with the same ol', same ol'?

    Best of luck in your college career. Wherever you wind up I'm certain you'll make an excellent choice.

    Sincerely,

    Jeff Pearlman
    University of Delaware Class of 1994


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    Re: Delaware-Delaware State - The Rivalry That Never Was

    Wow, if this is the case, I wonder why not more people are putting up a fight about it.


    @RandomGeoFacts

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    Re: Delaware-Delaware State - The Rivalry That Never Was

    How Ironic that on the same page on Cyclone Fanatic that there is a shooter running around Delaware State and police are looking for him. THat is weird. Not one but 2 Delaware state stories at one time on this site.



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    Re: Delaware-Delaware State - The Rivalry That Never Was

    Should be careful - next thing we know this site will be infested with Delaware State ads


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    Re: Delaware-Delaware State - The Rivalry That Never Was

    While everything the writer is saying might be true, that letter is in poor taste. You do not attack a recruit, who may not have any other scholarship offers, with a guilt trip imploring him to make a decision that could potentially have a major impact on his future.



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    Re: Delaware-Delaware State - The Rivalry That Never Was

    Quote Originally Posted by mjones34 View Post
    Wow, if this is the case, I wonder why not more people are putting up a fight about it.
    Probably because these kinds of writers typically don't bother telling the other side of the story. You can't take an article like this at face value.



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    Re: Delaware-Delaware State - The Rivalry That Never Was

    Why isn't Al Sharpton all over this?



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    Re: Delaware-Delaware State - The Rivalry That Never Was

    Unless Jeff Pearlman has concrete evidence that racisim is the reason why Delaware is not scheduling Delaware State, (which he hasn't presented - BTW Jeff, hearsay doesn't count as evidence), that "letter" is just a big fat piece of trashy slander against the University of Delaware administration. UD ought to sue him and ESPN until neither one of them has a penny left.


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    Re: Delaware-Delaware State - The Rivalry That Never Was

    Quote Originally Posted by jbhtexas View Post
    Unless Jeff Pearlman has concrete evidence that racisim is the reason why Delaware is not scheduling Delaware State, (which he hasn't presented - BTW Jeff, hearsay doesn't count as evidence), that "letter" is just a big fat piece of trashy slander against the University of Delaware administration. UD ought to sue him and ESPN until neither one of them has a penny left.
    Other than the fact that Jeff is a UD graduate - he may have more insight on the situation than you do...


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    Re: Delaware-Delaware State - The Rivalry That Never Was

    CFH HMagic bball season next year.
    Let my Fred's Four Horsemen ride: Georges, Hogue, Nader, and McKay.

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    Re: Delaware-Delaware State - The Rivalry That Never Was

    Quote Originally Posted by jdoggivjc View Post
    Other than the fact that Jeff is a UD graduate - he may have more insight on the situation than you do...
    I suspect that Jeff has much insight into UD. But what is needed when publically accusing someone of a crime is evidence. Jeff has esentially publically accused UD of racism, and has not presented evidence supporting that claim. He's presented his opinion, the opinion of another college sports writer, and some inuendo to validate his claim.

    It's sad that Delaware State is apparently a small underfunded school. There are better ways to go about fixing that and gaining recognition for DSU than to label UD (the "big brother") as racist. Although, in our society, crying racism and plastering everyone in earshot with the "racist" label (whether it is true or not) has been very successful in helping people get what they want.


    Last edited by jbhtexas; 09-21-2007 at 03:40 PM.
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    Re: Delaware-Delaware State - The Rivalry That Never Was

    Guess who plays each other in the first round of the 1AA playoffs. Could be worth tuning in Friday.



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    Re: Delaware-Delaware State - The Rivalry That Never Was

    Quote Originally Posted by jbhtexas View Post
    I suspect that Jeff has much insight into UD. But what is needed when publically accusing someone of a crime is evidence. Jeff has esentially publically accused UD of racism, and has not presented evidence supporting that claim. He's presented his opinion, the opinion of another college sports writer, and some inuendo to validate his claim.

    It's sad that Delaware State is apparently a small underfunded school. There are better ways to go about fixing that and gaining recognition for DSU than to label UD (the "big brother") as racist. Although, in our society, crying racism and plastering everyone in earshot with the "racist" label (whether it is true or not) has been very successful in helping people get what they want.
    Firstly, racism isn't a crime. You can be racist all you want, but it's not a criminal act.

    Secondly, he's obviously not writing this letter to a recruit. He's just using that format as a tool to set the scene for his argument.

    I think it's a very interesting article, and probably fairly accurate.



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