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Stab at tackling two issues at once

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Appgrad05, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Two things happened in a three-day period that affected the athletics department, so my intent was to answer and alleviate questions. As always, comments and views are much appreciated.

    N.C. Wesleyan is really happy for Barton College.

    Barton – a school very similar to N.C. Wesleyan as an academic institution – won the Division II men's basketball national championship in a fashion that earned the school free publicity everywhere from CBS to ESPN to Sports Illustrated. And the Bulldogs' coach, Ron Lievense? Could not have happened to a nicer guy, insists John Thompson, NCWC's athletics director and men's basketball coach.

    Thompson is not jealous of Barton's success. It just wants to make him work that much harder.

    "It's additional motivation for us," Thompson said. "I don't think we really need it, but certainly it makes me think that if they can do it, why can't we?"

    And with that, Thompson said the Battling Bishops Athletic Department will go back to work.

    Thompson would like to focus on the positives of the athletics program. The men's soccer team went to the NCAA Tournament; his basketball team came within a possession of winning the USA South tournament; and football is "on the doorstep" of success, Thompson said.

    His boss, N.C. Wesleyan president Dr. Ian Newbould, has liked what he has seen.

    "It's gone from strength to strength," Newbould said. "We have got a very strong program."

    But there's a cloud of "What if?" hanging over the entire N.C. Wesleyan campus these days, after a Monday announcement curtailed the chances of UNC-Rocky Mount.

    Thompson met with the study committee and answered their questions, which focused on who N.C. Wesleyan recruited, where and which teams the college played and what was the nature of athletics on campus.

    He characterized it was an "information-seeking type of interview," and Newbould said the discussion of athletics, as it pertained to UNC-Rocky Mount, was minimal.

    No one seems to be quite sure what would have changed. The program could have remained at Division III, like major portions of the public school system in Wisconsin and New York.

    The tuition rates at UNC-Rocky Mount would have been lower, likely considerably, than N.C. Wesleyan's current rate, $17,600.

    Division III athletes do not receive athletic scholarships, but many qualify for academic gifts that total anywhere from $500 to the full cost of tuition.

    So would a lower tuition rate have changed the manner in which N.C. Wesleyan recruits? Again, Thompson is not so sure.

    "Whether or not it would have enabled us, if we would have a different makeup to our teams, I have no idea," Thompson said.

    For now, Thompson seems ready to accept that little is going to change.

    "If we could have become UNC-Rocky Mount, I was ready to jump in with both feet and do the best job I could of fulfilling my duties in that role," Thompson said. "I didn't have any control in the report. I certainly won't have any role in the decision-making at that level.

    "What I have to do is accept whatever judgements are made and whatever decisions are made. We are going to be given assignments, whether it is to carry on or whatever else, and do the best job we can."

    Could have a move to Division II swayed LJ Dunn, a 6-foot-5 freshman from Raleigh Broughton that chose Barton over N.C. Wesleyan last spring and became the Bulldogs' sixth-man this season? Maybe, Thompson admits.

    At the same time, however, he remains confident in trying to direct what he can control.

    "As a department, I think we have a very good understanding of who we are," Thompson said. "We are N.C. Wesleyan, and we are going to be really good at doing that."
  2. MartinEnigmatica

    MartinEnigmatica Active Member

    So hey, more than a week later, a response - I don't know if this is still relevant, but I hate to see someone's post here left to drift to the bottom without a response. Anyway...this is a good stab, but you might actually be better off switching the order of the issues. It seems the one (basketball) kind of serves the other, which seems to be a more relevant issue. If you went to the Q&A period, maybe you could open with a scene from there. But otherwise, it seems the direction of the athletics department takes precedence.
  3. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    AG -

    Sorry to have let this hang here for so long without a response. The Workshop's Council of Weary Venerables seem to be up to their wrinkled old jowls in work of their own this week.

    First, as always, thanks for posting.

    And then this: I think the problem with the piece is that you address these separate issues sequentially. As a result, the story seems disjointed.

    As an easy fix, I think I'd try to synthesize the two issues into a strong lede, so the reader doesn't get yanked from one thing to the other without knowing why. A sort of "best of times, worst of times" strategy. Having done so, you can thereafter address them in the order suggested by Mr. Enigmatica.

    Hope that helps, even at this late date.
  4. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Thanks for the comments. I definitely see what both of you are saying.
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