Then, there is today's column from the Omaha World-Herald's Tom Shatel. The World-Herald does not publish this column online, so I'll summarize. Shatel went to Lincoln to the Husker Media Relations department, and found the doors to the Osborne complex locked with nobody at the guard desk. When the guard finally returned, he interrogated Shatel to determine his business and then escorted the columnist to the Media Relations department where the sports information director is then asked to vouch for Shatel's identity. Shatel is amazed that it's so difficult to get access to the program, calling it the "Secret Society of Steve Pederson". So Shatel does a little comparative research, and successfully makes it to the offices of UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman's and Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman.
So Husker athletics now needs more security than the Governor? Well, the official response is that it's because there are "female athletes in the building", despite the fact that females are well represented across the entire campus, not to mention the State Capitol building. Shatel checked with other athletic departments, and he couldn't find another program with similar restrictions.
Some fans will ask... what's the big deal? In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal by itself. But look at the trend: Shatel today, cheerleaders on Sunday, Ostergard last week. And that's just this month. When you look at the big picture, the explanations start becoming excuses. And the long running chain of excuses start to wear thin after a while. One of these days, a kool-aid drinker is going to try to change the subject by saying "What a lovely dress you have on, Mrs. Cleaver!"
On KOZN radio today, Kevin Kugler and Mike'l Severe asked Shatel if these continued PR debacles will eventually be Pederson's downfall. Shatel responded that while it is likely to be tied to Bill Callahan's eventually result, at some point, the status of fund-raising will need to be approached. A later caller pointed out a promotional magazine mailing to boosters from last December from Nebraska's "Touchdown Club" which opened with an article titled "Keeping the Faith" calling for all critics to admit they, not Pederson, were wrong:
Uh, no. But thanks for more evidence that the #1 problem facing Husker athletics is one man's ego. Why on earth is a call to stroke Pederson's ego the first thing you see when you open this magazine? And why is the Touchdown Club spending money (presumably donated funds at that) to publish and distribute this call?
At first, "kool-aid drinkers" was satire. But as this goes on, it's starting to actually resemble a cult. And you know how cults sometimes go out...
Update 10/7/2007: Time to Pull the Plug on Steve Pederson