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Doiron prepares for flooding with new event

May 5th, 2011 Comments off
Runners take off at the beginning of a recent Cotton Classic 10K road race in Greenville, including a much bigger and slower me on the far right.

Runners take off at the beginning of a recent Cotton Classic 10K road race in Greenville, including a much bigger and slower me on the far right.

I was chatting with my buddy, Phillip Doiron, this morning via text.

Phillip is the CEO if the Hodding Carter Memorial YMCA in Greenville, and we have been friends for several years dating to my tenure as editor of the Delta Democrat Times.

Phillip Doiron, CEO of the Hodding Carter Memorial YMCA in Greenville.

Phillip Doiron, CEO of the Hodding Carter Memorial YMCA in Greenville.

••• Learn more about the Cotton Classic 10K in Greenville…

Anyway, I was texting him this morning to give him a hard time about one of his biggest events of the year, the Cotton Classic 10K road race.

I missed last year’s event and have felt bad about it. So, this year is a must. This Saturday is a must.

But word from MDOT is that U.S. 61 is going to be closed due to flooding as are parts of U.S. 49W, the two main routes to Greenville from Jackson.

I asked him if I am going to be able to make it Friday night. After a couple of serious comments back and forth, Phillip suggested I might need to bring a swim suit with me for the event.

Sure, I said. Maybe we can make it a biathlon.

“Amen brother,” Phillip replied.

Amen, indeed.

Vote now for your favorite golf course … time is running out

March 17th, 2011 Comments off

If you want to have a say in which Mississippi Golf Course is rated as the favorite of Mississippi Business Journal readers, vote now.

We will close voting at at 11:59 Sunday night.

Which ever courses are the top five at that time will be featured in the MBJ Best Golf Courses edition, which will run on April 4. It’s time to vote.

Vote now … time is running out.

••• Update — Save yourself Jackson State, get out of the SWAC fast

February 17th, 2011 Comments off

Update … In response to Chris, who would like to see Jackson State move to Conference USA … Yes, I think that is a great idea, particularly from an attendance standpoint. JSU already outdraws many C-USA schools and, no doubt, would get bigger and bigger crowds in a Division I setting.

However, I think moving to C-USA straight from the SWAC likely isn’t to happen … First, C-USA has got to want that to happen. I suspect a move to legitimate I-AA conference needs to happen first. Maybe even going to I-AA as an independent with the intention of eventually moving to I-A.

Either way, I don’t think a Division I conference like C-USA is out of the question down the line …

••• Original Story •••

Raucous crowds in Jackson’s Memorial Stadium are the norm for a Jackson State football game, but even those crowds have dwindled in the last 10 to 15 years.
That would change if JSU would pull out of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
As the SWAC’s overall ability to lure top-notch African American athletes has waned 40 years after college athletics were integrated, Jackson State’s loyalty to the HBCU conference has held it back.
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum recently held a round-table discussion on “The Future of the SWAC” at which league officials were nowhere to be found.
“Amidst dwindling budgets, shrinking attendance, crumbling facilities and talk of school closure and consolidation, the future of the Southwestern Athletic Conference has rarely been more uncertain,” pre-discussion press releases screamed.
Unfortunately, the once-mighty SWAC is a failing business.
The Tiger athletic program, meanwhile, has been relegated to a near irrelevant status, considering the SWAC is completely irrelevant in serious conversation.
In Division I-AA, or the Football Championship Series as the NCAA calls it, no member of the SWAC is even talked about when it comes to championship play. The SWAC doesn’t participate in postseason playoffs in football, so that it can participate in an irrelevant SWAC championship game, which is cooked up to make money for the SWAC to keep the conference financially solvent, which it barely is to begin with.
Jackson State, in a market that can sustain a serious contender at the I-AA level, should jump ship and join a viable, competitive league.
The Southland Conference, the Southern Conference and the Ohio Valley Conference all offer opportunities for Jackson State that wouldn’t require much, if any, more travel costs, and would give the Tigers’ athletics programs more visibility on a national level.
As for the SWAC, it has been a dying conference for more than 20 years as programs like JSU and Southern University of Baton Rouge have continued to prop up the smaller-market schools, like Mississippi Valley and Alcorn State.
MVSU and ASU, as well as others — like Prairie View (Texas) and, to a certain extent, Grambling (La.) — haven’t been quality I-AA athletic programs for a long time and should move to Division II or III, even to the NAIA.
Jackson State, meanwhile, should look out for itself, lose the SWAC and look forward to higher attendance than it already enjoys. More attractive, nationally-relevant opponents like powers Appalachian State and Georgia Southern in the Southern Conference or Stephen F. Austin and Texas State of the Southland Conference would be better.
If Jackson State wants to continue to play its in-state rivals, play them as non-conference games.
In an era where college athletics is big business, Jackson State is part of failing corporation for which there is no bailout coming.
Jackson State should save itself, because the longer it stays in the SWAC, the more irrelevant and unmarketable it will become.
It’s about business.

Contact Mississippi Business Journal editor Ross Reily at ross.reily@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018.