OUR VIEW: Dead ’yote reanimates old rivalryIs it OK to say we laughed when we heard somebody — presumably South Dakota State University students — hung a dead coyote from a University of South Dakota billboard recently?
Is it OK to say we laughed when we heard somebody — presumably South Dakota State University students — hung a dead coyote from a University of South Dakota billboard recently?
We probably should say we do not condone that kind of behavior. We’ll say for the record that there may be better ways to express school spirit than to kill an animal and hang it from a sign. Then again, coyotes are something of a nuisance to farmers and ranchers, and as long the coyote was killed legally …
Before we go too far, we’ll acknowledge that one of the two members of this editorial board is an SDSU alumnus. If it appears we’re condoning behavior by SDSU students that some other observers might deem reprehensible, the editorial writer’s affinity for the university probably explains it.
And, hey, it’s not like USD is blameless. The university posted a billboard near Brookings — home of SDSU — with a depiction of USD’s Coyote chasing an SDSU Jackrabbit and the phrase “Have an old friend for dinner.” Even an animal-rights activist would admit USD kind of had it coming.
Perhaps you don’t appreciate the particular method the SDSU pranksters employed. That’s OK. We can set that aside and agree on something else: It is really, really great to see the old SDSU vs. USD rivalry heating up again.
According to the SDSU football media guide, the two schools met for the first time on the gridiron in 1889, the year of South Dakota statehood. The game ended in a 6-6 tie, which was a fitting start for a rivalry that stayed intensely competitive through the years (USD leads the all-time series 50-47-7).
The two teams were in the NCAA Division II North Central Conference for many years. When SDSU made the jump to Division I and USD stayed behind in Division II, the rivalry ended. The last football game between the two teams was in 2003 at Vermillion. The Jackrabbits won that game 22-11, and USD’s frustration at that result seems to have manifested itself these eight years later in the form of a billboard taunt.
USD has now joined SDSU in Division I, and the two teams are scheduled to renew their football rivalry Nov. 17, 2012, in Brookings.
Though the animosity between college football rivals sometimes goes too far, it’s generally a good and healthy thing. The excitement and publicity surrounding the SDSU-USD game will build awareness of both schools, which could help recruit students who might otherwise be inclined to leave South Dakota for college. The buzz surrounding the game also will enhance the college experience of the students at both schools.
So, while any further animal slayings should probably be discouraged, we can’t wait for the game.