Thurman Speaks About East Valley Tribune Editorial on ASU and UofA Collaboration

The East Valley Tribune (EVT) published an editorial about collaboration between ASU (Arizona State University) and UofA (University of Arizona). Although the EVT acknowledged that collaboration was a good thing, they warned against the two universities becoming too friendly.

The editorial equated academics with football. For some reason, the Tribune believes that the residents of Arizona are passionate about ASU versus UofA football games. I don't see this being remotely true. More importantly, the EVT believes the professors at the two universities need to have the same competitive/ruthless mentality that athletes are so well endowed with.

   "As welcome as is news that the new president of the 
    University of Arizona seeks to work with his counterpart 
    at Arizona State University in joint ventures that can 
    allow both institutions to better interact with the 
    marketplace ("UA leader seeks stronger ties with ASU"
    Tribune Sunday) we hope that this kind of buddy-buddy 
    talk doesn't go too far."

It is impossible for the UofA and ASU to have too "strong of ties."

The EVT should remember that Arizona universities are learning institutions first and foremost. Sports is a way for student-athletes to have fun being athletes while being a student (and for some schools to make lots of money). If an athlete doesn't do any learning, he doesn't play any football.

   "But please, Robert Shelton of UA and Michael Crow of ASU, 
    don't take away that time-honored distrust and distaste 
    that should keep Arizona and Arizona State battling for 
    the Grand Canyon State's affections for decades and 
    decades to come."

In an age when collaboration will play a key role in the overall well being of Arizona and the United States of American and the World, the EVT wants university faculty at its to major universities to show "distrust and distaste" toward each other. This type of attitude does not promote collaboration.

   "We're all for 21st century collaboration, and who isn't for 
    curing diseases and advancing the cause of science and 
    technology? But we're talking about two fussing, clawing 
    siblings with grudges going back at least as far as their 
    first gridiron meeting in 1899. Each November this state 
    is divided into two camps, Them and Us, for bragging rights 
    for the next year."

A "Them and Us" attitude simply doesn't make any sense when you have two Universities trying to become tier-one schools.

   "Those who find sports to be trivial need to understand that 
    precious few things in this state last for more than a century. 
    This arch-rivalry is one of them. Some things are too steeped 
    in history, tradition, primal forces of nature, to mess with."

I cannot believe that the majority of Arizonans care about the annual ASU/UA football game. Bottom-line: the EVT exaggerated the ASU/UA game because it pales in comparison to so many other collegiate athletic rivalries.

Creator: Gerald D. Thurman [gthurman@gmail.com]
Created: 22 July 2006