Several years ago when Mississippi State's video board in the south endzone was shiny and new, it was used quite well as an aide in getting fans pumped up, in pumping up players pre-game with music, and more important than anything else, it wasn't a distraction from what was going on down on the field.
That changed this year, however, as things went from bad to noticeably worse, as commercials dominated during timeouts, ill-timed kiss-cams were mobilized during critical moments in a game, and OH GOSH, THE MERCEDES COMMERCIAL AGAIN. Even though talk had been gaining momentum on the message boards and among Bulldog fans all over, our friend Croom Diaries was really the first one to address the issue on a more widespread platform. And the response was almost unanimously the same: The video board problem had reached critical mass.
So kudos to Scott Stricklin, Mississippi State's athletic director, for realizing that the issue is there, and vowing - publicly too - to correct it, and to return MSU's in-game atmosphere to one that centers on what's going on from sideline to sideline, and not which teenager in an ill-fitting Sonic costume can run 65 yards the fastest without falling down.
Today on Bulldog Sports Radio's This Is Our Show, Stricklin came on (listen to the full show and interview here) to talk with Brian Hadad and The Godfather of Sixpackspeak.com to discuss possible bowl game destinations, among other things. One of those other things discussed on the show was Stricklin's intentions for changes in the video board usage for next year, and State fans definitely will like what he had to say.
"No commercials during timeouts in-game" was Scott's pledge to State fans (video board discussions start around the 24-25 minute mark), which is a huge statement to make, and a very public seal of approval that things are going to be corrected for MSU's first game next year in the soon-to-be newly renovated Davis Wade Stadium. Stricklin told the guys on BSR that the focus would be to concentrate commercials pre and post-game, and that there may be some commercials between the first and second quarters and at halftime, but there would (hopefully) be none between the third and fourth quarters, when games are coming down to critical make or break, win or lose situations.
I would encourage everyone to go and listen to the full interview with Scott. He has a lot of informative things to say, and not only on the corrections being made to the video board's operations. As far as video board talk goes, I have to give credit to Scott for tackling the issue head on, and for being very open with fans about recognizing that it's there, and that it will be corrected.
As an Athletic Director it could be easy for him to take the "sit in my tower, away from the citizens and do as I please" approach to his job, but he doesn't. Stricklin seems to be willing to immerse himself in fan conversation - good or bad - so that he can keep us apprised of what's going on in the Athletic Department, and to hear and address concerns that we may have. That's a big deal, especially on this hot-button issue, and as we head into a year where we'll unveil a newly renovated stadium, and in a year that could (potentially) be a big one for MSU football.
[h/t Croom Diaries]