To try and decipher why the NCAA decided pregame intro videos were not suitable for Division I FCS playoff games, or perhaps any playoff football game for that matter, is a bit perplexing. Mainly because they have very little to do with the actual game itself. It’s a minute or two of the team coming out of its locker room and onto the field and for the most part, the players are oblivious to any video anyway since they’re in the locker room.
I asked NDSU defensive end Greg Menard what he thought of all the social media buzz about the NCAA and he wondered what I was talking about. “No I have not, what’s that about?” he said.
The Bison players have much more on their minds, obviously, than a videoboard policy. I reached out to two folks from the NCAA who work with the Championship and Alliance division and have yet to hear back, but I could only guess it’s a control thing, controlling the message of their championships and not giving the host the leeway to do whatever they want. If that’s the case, I think they’re barking up the wrong tree. If the NCAA is worried about a neutral environment without the potential to disrupt a visiting team, then it should probably turn its attention to the public address announcer position.
Dan Michaels at the Fargodome can do more to an opposing team than any video could. Especially on third down when he says something to the effect of “It’s third and long BISON FANS” and then goes into that you are the strength of the herd spiel. Bison fans react accordingly and third down is usually rather tough on a visiting quarterback. If the NCAA was truly worried about a neutral presentation to a game, perhaps bringing in their own PA guy would be the way to go. Or better yet, ban all logos on helmets and have one team wear white and the other black. And no tailgating; that would be encouraging alcohol use and the NCAA is against alcohol, except of course at the FCS title game in Frisco where there is more money to be made.
I do recall Michaels was somewhat muffled during the 2011 playoffs, but for whatever reason — if there was a policy — was not part of the last four years of postseason. In some sort of way, this could bring the Bison crowd up a few decibels — the gossip that the NCAA is out to get them and the response to being ticked off is to simply be louder. I’m of the belief the Fargodome has somewhat lost its Georgia Southern Loud hard edge and maybe this will bring it back.
Last week, the live camera that shows the Bison walking out of their locker room went on the blink a minute before air time. The fans didn’t see the players do their “tunnel walk.” As far as I could tell, it had nothing to do with the 45-7 win.
Call it like it is: The intro is a cool thing for the home field fans, whose team earned the right to host a game, and the fans should be able to see the entire enchilada. It’s not cheap to go to these games. I’ve seen FCS team intros across the country in FCS and really 95 percent are rather vanilla with virtually no impact on crowd behavior. NDSU is one of the few exceptions along with maybe Montana or Northern Iowa. So, in essence, you could make the case this was NCAA action take against NDSU’s video.