Sunday, February 25, 2007

Nookie & Cheerleaders (and a Tigger Too)

UNO's hockey team is returning home from it's annual trek to Alaska with it's first ever sweep in the Great White North. Outside it was -30, but other than part of the 1st period Friday night and the tail end of the 3rd period last night, UNO dominated all weekend. Nanooks coach Tavis MacMillen paid the Mavs quite a compliment last night:
“I’ve said from the start of the year that’s the best skating team in our league. They have the best set of forwards, 1 through 12. Give them time and space, they can make plays, and they did it early and often tonight.”

Up next for the Mavs is the CCHA playoffs. The first round opponent is the same as last year: Bowling Green. The Mavs swept the boys of Duct Tape twice already this season... they'll need to make that a half-dozen victories.

If casual fans need a reason other than "playoff hockey" to head to the Qwest Center this weekend, here's another: Scott Parse. Parse, currently #3 in the nation in scoring, is 3 points away from 200 career points. These will be his last games in Omaha for one of the greatest players to wear an Omaha sweater. Last week, I commented that Parse's play in the final minutes of the Friday game against Ohio State reminded me of the way Parse took command last January. Since then, UNO has won three straight. They can't take the BeeGee's for granted this weekend.

Speaking of sweeps, the Husker men's basketball team completed a season sweep of Missouri in overtime yesterday to move to 16-11, erasing some of the bad taste of last week's demolition at Kansas and breakdown against Baylor. Some people might feel that talking postseason is out of line for a team like Nebraska...but remember, it's called "March Madness" for a reason. You never know what can happen, and Nebraska certainly is in a position to have their season continue beyond the Big XII tournament. And it's certainly setting the expectation level where it needs to be.

Today's Omaha World-Herald had yet another example of how not to treat people, courtesy of the Husker athletic department. The Huskers have decided to eliminate reimbursments for meals and books to cheerleaders, as well as reduce the number of cheerleaders and reinstituting Bill Byrne's ban on stunts. Let's break this down into two seperate arguments. First of all, what is the appropriate level of support from the athletic department for cheerleaders. Nebraska says this is still more than most schools, and that may very well be the case. I'm not going to argue that point at all. In fact, I've even read some comments that some people don't think that there should be any financial support to cheerleaders. I don't agree with that either, but I can see the point.

My main criticism is that the cheerleaders weren't told of this in person, but rather found out when they noticed some things were missing from the announcement of tryouts on the Huskers web site. Elimination of over $2000 a year for each member of the squad would be a big deal to any student... and not being upfront with the members of the squad is yet another gaffe for the Huskers. There certainly are probably valid business reasons to cut the funding for the cheerleaders, and probably the biggest is the lack of progress in funding the stadium improvement project. We saw it in how Barry Collier was left to starve without a contract extension or buyout of his existing contract.

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