There are a few things that the month of February brings....it brings Groundhogs Day (commemorated with Punxsutawney Phil), Valentine's Day (commemorated with hearts and chocolates), and President's Day (sadly commemorated with a Mattress Sale at J.C. Penney's). The other thing February brings is National Signing Day, and for Idaho State, the requisite argument over Idaho athletes.
Now, as I delve into this, I can't really comment on certain things due to NCAA regulations (remember, the Bible gave us 10 commandments, and people struggle with those...the NCAA gives us 440 pages of commandments...you do the math).
Anyways, John Zamberlin signed five Idaho kids to scholarships, upping his total on his tenure to 18. California led the way this year with 12, and then it went Washington with 7, Idaho with 5, Hawai'i, Arizona, and Utah each with 1. The comments I always hear can be broken down into a select few, and I'll go through each of them....
Why don't we sign more Idaho athletes?
The answer is we try. I'm not allowed to say who we offered to and who we didn't, but we offered many Idaho athletes....they don't all chose to go to Idaho State. John Zamberlin's summer camp includes so many Idaho High School teams now, and that helps recruiting tremendously, just in the relationship aspect of things. Larry Lewis had a very good commitment to Idaho, and John Zamberlin has taken that vision and expanded it.
If Montana can win with all Montana kids, why can't ISU just get Idaho kids and win with them?
This is an apples and oranges argument. First of all, the University of Montana is the largest school in their state in terms of athletics (sorry Bobcat fans). In Idaho, the Bengals are #3, behind Boise State, and then Idaho (sorry Bengal fans). Montana doesn't have to deal with the issues that ISU does in relations to the pecking order in the state. Start adding in the facilities argument, the desire for many Idaho athletes that are LDS to either play in Utah or attend BYU (don't underestimate that), and the fact that last year Idaho State had 29% of the roster as Idahoans is solid.
Compare it this way...in 2008, Boise State and Idaho had 203 roster slots, and a grand total of 28 went to Idaho kids (mostly walk-ons) ... that's just 13.8%. At Idaho State, 23 of 81 roster slots went to Idaho kids, with well over half on scholarship I believe, and that percentage is 28.4%, more than double the other two institutions.
Why so many kids from California?
This is easy....according the census.gov, the population of Idaho in July, 2008 was1,523,816 people, spread out over 83574 square miles. The same census pegs California's population at 36,756,666 people, and Washington as 6,549,224 people. Let's stay with California though. Say you wanted to recruit just the Sacramento Area and a 15-mile radius around the city center. According the the census, there are over 2.12 million people in that little area, compared to just 1.5 million in the entire state of Idaho. There are just so many kids in California looking for places to play...it's only natural to go there. Look at it this way combined with the above stat...the population of Idaho represents 0.4% of the entire population of the United States, and yet, the football roster is made up of 28.4% from the state...that's a heck of a ratio for us.
My tax dollars go to ISU, so I want scholarships to go to Idaho kids.
Actually, tax dollars (mine included) go to ISU for the programs, but the scholarships are fully raised on donations and contributions to the athletic scholarship fund.
Anyways, all of that is to basically say that John Zamberlin and the football program are going a great job of showcasing the school to in-state kids, and trying to get them to stay at home and play for Idaho State. Sorry if this sounds like something from the high-horse, because really it's not, but I know there has been some internet discussion of this topic, and I thought I could do more justice with a blog-post, plus, my brain is currently fried dealing with softball, so this was a welcome diversion LOL.
Wanna Help? Buy a Locker!
The locker dedication project is in full swing....for those of you that read the Journal's piece on Holt Arena (which my name was spelled wrong and I didn't like the articles anyway, because they were basically negative and ill-informed. Really...the only fan they could interview was one who said they don't go to the games because their son doesn't think the team will win? That's your source? The journalism teacher in me bristled....), they mentioned a wooden stand alone locker in the middle of the locker room. This is why it was there. Seriously, you can attach your name to a piece of ISU that will last for a long, long time...your own personal legacy. (NOTE: That web page went live around 10:30 am, and within three hours Donna Hays had several phone calls from ex-players wanting the contribute!) Hey, if you can't afford the $500, five people can join in, and dedicate a locker together as well.
Jay McMillin, Live in Your Living Room
If you watched the Altitude game on Sunday (we were traveling back from Greeley so I missed it), but former Portland State Viking Rashad Floyd did the color commentary, and all in all, he held his own. This week with the game at Idaho State, ISU's own Jay McMillin will be the color analyst for the ISU/EWU game, which is at 4:07 pm. Jay's Big Sky knowledge is excellent, and he did a great job on the radio for ISU against Boise State earlier this year, so I think Jay will be a star on Saturday.