Sheahon Zenger, athletic director at Illinois state university, spoke to the Normal Rotary Club last Wednesday, Dec. 7. His speech was the most enlightening and inspirational presentation I've heard in years as an advocate of ISU athletics.
During the question and answer segment, I asked where the term "mid major" came from, feeling it's a stigma that adversely effects both recruiting and fund-raising. His response was that it was a term created by the media, probably one of the television sports talk shows, when one night, as usual, they ran out of meaningful sports news and decided to get creative.
The term has nothing to do with size. If I heard correctly, Rice Institu1e, for example, has 1,200 students and is not called a mid major. Notre dame has about 6,500 students. By contrast, ISU has about 20,000 students. We need to eliminate the stigma of being tagged a mid major, and I'd like to suggest we start with the local media.
In Randy Kindred's column in The Pantagraph on Dec. 9, he made four references to "mid major" in what was otherwise a good column. The University of Illinois will never play in Redbird Arena as long as we allow ourselves to be known as a mid major. In ISU President Bowman and Athletic Director Zenger, we have two great policymakers with vision to lead us out of the wilderness. The support and effort of everyone is needed to make it happen.