Don't Blame Gundy, Blame Savannah State

Sept 1, 2012; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys fans cheer before the game against the Savannah State Tigers at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

Here are the facts.

  1. Conference realignment caused high profile non-conference games to be canceled.
  2. The decision makers at Oklahoma State went through numerous pages of schools that declined the invitation to play the Cowboys before Savannah State agreed.
  3. Savannah State decided that $385,000 was worth sending their kids out to be slaughtered on a football field.

Despite these facts, media members both locally and nationally are blasting Mike Gundy for beating Savannah State 84-0. Nevermind the fact that OSU had ALL of their starters out before the first quarter even ended. Nevermind the fact that OSU cleared the benches and 4th string walk-ons were playing the majority of the fourth quarter.

Does that sound like a coach trying to run up the score?

Oh, but Mike Gundy shouldn't have ever let this game happen in the first place. Right? Except he doesn't have much of a say in the matter to begin with. The logistics and financial stipulations of scheduling non-conference games goes well beyond Gundy's responsibilities. Sure, it's easy for any fan to say "We should play Arkansas or Colorado or (the truly absurd) Alabama!" And while those may seem like dreams, there is a lot more that goes into scheduling than putting wishlist opponents into a hat and picking one out.

Read on after the jump.

So where does the blame truly lie? How about the athletic department at Savannah State?

Why am I not hearing much blame being placed on their plate? They knew what was going to happen. They realized what they had as a football team and what they were going up against. And still, they said the money was worth having their kids humiliated on the football field. Why is nobody writing an article or discussing on radio the ethics behind selling out athletes for a paycheck?

What if any of their players were seriously injured during the game? What if multiple players were? Is that worth $385,000? Can that be justified to any of the players' parents?

Oklahoma State can only play the opponents that agree to play them. The Cowboy players are going to play their hardest and do their best because that is how they have been taught since they were little kids. More to the point, who is going to tell a walk-on that barely ever sees the field to not give it his all? These guys work every bit as hard as the athletes on scholarships. Every day of the week. Every week of the year. And they do it without a scholarship. And they do all this for the minuet possibility of getting on the field for their parents to see them play. I don't know about you, but I'm not telling that kid to only go 75% or to dive on the ball when they have an opportunity to make a play.

The point is that while the score was outrageous, Mike Gundy hardly deserves the blame.

Blame conference realignment.

Blame the system that allows these matchups to be made in the first place.

And blame Savannah State for saying the money is worth it. In fact, it is worth it enough to go do it all again this coming weekend when they travel to Tallahassee, Florida to get destroyed by Florida State.

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