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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Last Time

You have my word here, this is the last time I will write about this, I promise.

For some reason I just can't let go of this subject, for not only the reason I think it is important, but I keep getting reminded of it, by fans of the teams all over the place.

And since this blog is literally read by people all over the world, what I am about to write about is not just a local issue, there is an underlying message for everyone who owns a business or does business with a business, which obviously includes the whole world.

For the life of me, I can't figure out still,  why Portland State and University of Portland are not going to play each other in men's basketball this year. For the record, at best the schools are 25 minutes apart by even the slowest of drivers. There is also not another D-1 basketball program within 85 miles of each school.

Even worse, here are some schools which the teams have on their schedule this year at home. Portland has both Concordia of Oregon and Concordia of California, plus they are playing Lewis and Clark, which by the way is 30 minutes from the Pilot campus. Portland State has Walla Walla College and Linfield. Out of respect, it is tough for each school to schedule and actually they do as good as possible, as basketball scheduling is becoming increasingly tough for all D-1 schools.

But with having to schedule the above basketball powerhouses at home, why oh why Pilots and Vikings did you end your series and quite frankly what was becoming a pretty good basketball rivalry.

I was even so curious and was being hounded by so many, I contacted Larry Williams, Pilot athletic director and his Portland State counterpart Torrie Chisholm, both fine men and both should be credited with getting back to myself extremely quick. But at the same time while I respect their quick answers, it was hard to figure out the answers, I would have to say that both did very well in political correctness classes, even were A+ students.

And at this point, I am at the point of I don't want to hear any excuses, any reasons and I really don't care who is at fault,  if someone is,  for canceling this series and very good rivalry. All I and hundreds of other care about is just playing the darn game, if not only once per year, but it should be played twice every year.

Now for my underlying message, businesses today and even in the toughest economic conditions since the Depression, have forgotten about customer service. Athletics in all schools is not a department, it is a business, no matter what the size of the school. The bottom line is give your customers what they want and trust me, the fans of both of these schools who are there customers want this game and they want it every year, period.

Just like not playing this game is stupid, stupid and even more stupid, it is the same that for the first time in like 40 years, Utah and Utah State will not play this year. A great rivalry ended and just like the Portland State/Portland game, people in Utah are mad and very frustrated.

There are very few rivalries out west in basketball to begin with, so why end two of the better ones and please, for all you cynics out there, there are people all over who do care about college basketball and more importantly rivalries.

Let me say something positive about Portland State and University of Portland. I have many friends who work at both schools, I know so many quality people who love their experience as students at both places and both schools are great venues to watch games. Portland State not only for most years has good teams, they have the best pep band in all of college basketball and Portland, has something you never see, not only a great arena, but great concession food and free parking for all games.

In addition, three years ago yours truly slipped in the parking lot on some ice at University of Portland and took a hard fall, only to realize quickly that there must have been 20 students rush over to me and see if I was ok, never forgotten. And at Portland State, you will never see a better game operations in sports which is overseen by the legendary Assistant Athletic Director/SID Mike Lund. Makes it a fun place to be for fans, just not at either place will you see this rivalry.

So with all my angst and all my plaudits, I do want this message to get out. By not playing rivalry games, schools are cheating their fans and more importantly, it shows a complete lack of customer service.

And yes, Crawscorner is always right and even more importantly, the customer is always RIGHT.

emails to or follow on twitter @wchoops

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