How much tragedy must one athletic department endure?
That has to be the question being asked by folks at Oklahoma State University last week as the men’s basketball team mourns the death of Tyrek Coger.
The 21-year old junior forward died from an enlarged heart following a workout session on campus on July 21. Coger had recently transferred to OSU and was only in his third week with the team. The Raleigh, North Carolina, native previously attended Eastern Florida State College and Cape Fear Community College.
Coger’s death is just another in a string of tragedies that have befallen the OSU athletic family.
Ten members of the men’s basketball program died in a plane crash in Colorado, on Jan. 27, 2001. Among the victims were players, coaches and the team’s broadcaster.
OSU football player Vernon Grant died in a car accident in Dallas, May 23, 2005. The 22-year old defensive back was three-year starter on the team.
On Nov. 17, 2011, OSU women’s head basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna were killed in a plane crash in Arkansas, along with the pilot and his wife.
On Oct. 24, 2015, during the OSU homecoming parade, a 25-year old woman drove her car into the crowd killing four and injuring dozens of OSU supporters.
No college should ever have to endure the tragic death of any staff members or athletes, but unfortunately it has happened many times over the years to various universities around the country. However, no university has had the number of incidents strike their athletic department as has OSU.
All we can do is pray that God grants peace and comfort to the basketball personnel and the family of Coger, and may God keep OSU safe.
PASS ME ANOTHER
This could be a very interesting season for University of Tulsa football – not on the field, however, but in the stands. For the first time since 1996, the school has decided to make beer available at concession stands inside H.A. Chapman Stadium.
TU has not consistently sold beer at its games over the years, but did on a trial basis in 1995 and 1996. Then in 2006, the university decided to once again make beer available, but the decision was quickly reversed before the season began.
Beer has been available within the confines of the stadium since 2008, but only in the suites and club level of the grandstand. Obviously, tailgating fans on the streets adjacent to Chapman Stadium have been able to bring their own beer to the games, but could not take it in the stadium.
It will be interesting to see how this affects the fan experience at the game. The last time beer was sold at then Skelly Stadium, there was a family zone where beer was off limits. I would suspect that TU would offer such a seating option once again; that would make sense.
The truth is, there are many universities all around the country that sell beer in their stadiums, some of those stadiums are on campus and controlled by the university and some are municipal venues owned by the city. In both cases, there is no denying the fact that beer sales add a lot of profit to the bottom line of the athletic program. Universities are increasingly trying to raise more funds for athletics and keep their fans coming to the games.
Will beer sales help boost attendance at TU football games? Only time will tell.
If fans drink and act responsibly, this could very well be a win-win for both sides.