Between the Lines: How to avoid furry, frozen packages

Dear NCAA:

I am sure this is a busy time for you all, with all the March Madness stuff you guys are dealing with.

It's an exciting time here in South Dakota, too.

The South Dakota State University Jackrabbits have made it your "Big Dance," so to speak.

By the way, for decades now, we've referred to this school, located in Brookings, as SDSU.

I'm sure you also know that apparel sporting a logo or other common "branding" of one's school is very important. It gets cold here in South Dakota in the fall and the winter, so we generally dress up in sweatshirts and coats to watch our collegiate sporting teams compete.

We also get that extra warm feeling, that sense of security, so to speak – when we adorn ourselves in the proper attire, complete with the proper school colors and logos – that makes us alums feel like we are back on campus again… a place where many of us spent at least four and likely five or six of the best years of our lives.

We here in South Dakota are thrilled that both of our women's and men's basketball teams from SDSU have earned berths into the NCAA Tournament. I am an SDSU alum that lives in Vermillion, home of the University of South Dakota Coyotes. I have grown to be a huge fan of both USD and SDSU athletics. The two schools have a rich history, by the way – a rivalry that goes back decades.  After being quiet for awhile, this rich history and rivalry is gaining new life as both schools are competing in Division I.

I mention all of the above to simply point out that there is a big difference between SDSU, located in Brookings, and USD, located here in Vermillion. The two schools are kind of like the Hatfields and McCoys of the Great Plains, except we don't shoot at each other. We prefer to throw frozen carcasses of coyotes and jackrabbits at the proper opponents, all while hoping that an innocent bystander doesn't get caught in the mix.

That's how strongly students and grads of both USD and SDSU feel about their identities. We are willing to hurl dead animals at each other to prove which school is the best. This method hasn't produced any concrete results. Anyone associated with SDSU believes he/she is associated with the superior school. The same goes for those who have attended and remain loyal to USD.

I mention this for one simple reason. This is what any die-hard SDSU fan browsing for merchandise on your NCAA web page Sunday night discovered:

I'm glad that by the next day, one could no longer order a "supposed" blue SDSU sweatshirt with USD emblazoned in red letters. Had this problem not been rectified, there is a chance that someone in  the NCAA executive offices could one day receive a package.

Containing something furry and frozen.

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