Our View: Learn AIDS/HIV facts

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Nov 302008
 
Authors: Collegian Editorial Board

More than 25 years after the Center for Disease Control gave it a name, AIDS and its cause, the HIV virus, continues to kill thousands of people in the U.S. every year, and even more worldwide.

According to the CDC Web site, through 2006 an estimated 566,000 have died in this country from AIDS since it started tracking AIDS-related deaths in the early 1980s.

A worldwide figure is nearly impossible to quantify, but the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS “2007 AIDS Epidemic Update” estimates that 2.1 million people total died from AIDS in 2007.

While scientists work to find a cure, ignorance and misconceptions about the disease and those affected by it persist.

World AIDS Day, now in its 20th year of operation, seeks to combat the stigmas and stereotypes of the disease through education.

This afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Art Lounge, the Office of International Programs/International Education, Hartshorn Health Center, the Department of Psychology and the Northern Colorado AIDS Project will hold a candlelight vigil for the victims of this disease.

Attendees will also be given the chance to learn what they can do for those currently struggling with the HIV/AIDS.

In addition, NCAP will be on campus to offer free testing HIV testing in the LSC on Wednesday as part of World AIDS day.

The Collegian encourages any and all to attend these events and to take the time to learn more about HIV/AIDS.

Knowledge is the best weapon against this deadly disease. Arm yourself, CSU.

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Beer brewers agreement means a sip in the right direction

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Nov 302008
 
Authors: Sean Reed

Nearly every community in the world can be summed up in one word.

Unfortunately for CSU, Fort Collins is not defined by “university,” “Ram” or even “football.” No, if one word captured the heart and soul of the “Choice City” it would be “beer.”

And things are only getting more exciting for beer in our lovely community.

On Friday, the Denver Post reported that Fort Collins’ flagship New Belgium Brewery has entered into a venture agreement with Seattle-based Elysian Brewing Company to “share their breweries with each other.”

The partnership, started in August, will allow each brewer to brew the others’ products, experiment with creating new concoctions and, most importantly, expand their respective distribution.

As of now, Elysian, which has a much more limited brewing infrastructure than its partner, has not yet attempted to brew any of New Belgium’s beers in large quantities.

New Belgium, on the other hand, has already produced Elysian’s Immortal India Pale Ale, Night Owl Pumpkin Ale and Bifrost Winter Ale. Of course, the Fort Collins brewer had to adjust the recipe to account for the difference in altitude, equipment and brewing style.

Still, according to the Denver Post, officials from both companies said the difference between the Elysian and New Belgium version of these brews was so negligible that “only professional brewers could tell even the slightest difference.”

In fact, the New Belgium Elysian brews are so good that some have even been shipped to East Coast vendors, which has saved Elysian the trouble of about 1,000 miles of shipping distance.

This 1,000 miles that trucks won’t have to drive to deliver Elysian’s products means there are fewer carbon emissions created to get the beer to its drinkers, which, for a company as well known for its commitment to the environment as New Belgium, is a big factor behind the partnership. Of course, the money each company will save by using the shipping resources of the other doesn’t hurt, either.

Currently, New Belgium offers a taste of Elysian’s IPA on its brewery tour, but is not yet authorized to sell any of the Seattle brewery’s products until it acquires a license to do so. However, according to officials, this license is in the works and everything should be set in the near future.

Following this, further distribution in the state of Colorado of New Belgium-made Elysian products will follow. For Colorado, this means a wider beer selection and lower prices than if Elysian products were shipped from their home base in Seattle.

In addition, next month, a group from New Belgium will visit Elysian headquarters to experiment with new brews and to get acquainted with their equipment.

More knowledge about different equipment and brewing styles can only mean a more diverse selection on the end of the beer drinker. And who can argue with more beer?

The Denver Post speculates that should this partnership flourish, “commercial-scale cross brewing initiatives” among smaller scale brewers could likely proliferate to cut both shipping and brewing costs, as well as carbon emissions.

Does this mean we can look forward to similar partnerships between other local brewer O’Dell and, say, Pennsylvania-based Erie Brewing Company? Probably not. But maybe.

Hopefully, the New Belgium-Elysian model leads to success and other brewers follow suit. After all, in these trying economic times, more beer can only be a good thing.

Editorials Editor Sean Reed is a senior political science major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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CSU to re-evaluate all green initiatives

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Nov 302008
 
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Following an announcement this month that its administration will “take a hard look” at its carbon neutrality goal, CSU will, in addition, take a step back in deciding the fate of each of its green initiatives, Interim CSU President Tony Frank said last week.

Frank said it is necessary for the university to evaluate where it wants to be “on the curve of change” and must decide whether it wants to be first to introduce new green developments and practices or whether “watching to see what develops” would be a better choice.

“Progressing on green initiatives is sort of like evaluating what your risk profile on an investment is,” Frank said.

In September, former CSU President Larry Penley promised that CSU would become fully carbon neutral by 2020 and took on projects such as Maxwell Ranch, a site where he planned to build a wind farm in coming years.

Now, Penley’s carbon neutrality goals are being referred to as a “plan,” because “‘goal’ might be a strong word,” said Brad Bohlander, the university’s chief spokesperson.

Frank acknowledged that the possibility of taking a more conservative stance regarding carbon neutral technologies may “forego some benefits” but said that he believes it is time the university “take a breath, step back and evaluate.”

Taylor Smoot, student government president, said he supports Frank’s decision to re-evaluate the initiatives.

“(Reassessing goals) isn’t unusual, and I think it’s absolutely right that Tony Frank do what he needs to do and re-evaluate what’s best for the university,” Smoot said.

Administration will not set a date as to when a decision regarding the projects will be made, Frank said.

“I’m not thinking of it as a committee,” he said. “It’s more that, over the next stretch of months, we’ll be taking a broad look at all of our green initiatives, including our carbon neutrality goal.”

Given the technology that exists right now and given that the pace of change is so dramatic in issues related to the environment, Frank said, CSU might want to wait to see what technologies develop.

“Proceeding as we had been might not be the most cost-effective strategy,” he said.

Bohlander said the finances dedicated to the goals and the time in which they can be completed must be evaluated.

Though its goals and the timeline in which the university will achieve them may change, Frank said he does not foresee CSU giving up its title as the green university and said there is no disagreement in administration that the pursuit of environment-friendly tactics is necessary.

“CSU has a very rich tradition of environmental research. All of us have to pay attention to environmental issues, and ignoring those issues isn’t a very viable option,” he said.

Eric Sutherland, a Fort Collins resident who studies local green initiatives, said review of current “unrealistic” CSU projects can only help it put its best foot forward for the future.

“I never had any doubt that the people at CSU would commit to green initiatives,” he said. “And once (those initiatives) are defined in a pragmatic way, I’m sure they’ll be very successful.”

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Former state rep. ‘very interested’ in CSU

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Nov 302008
 
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Pending a decision by the CSU System Board of Governors to split the CSU president and chancellor roles, former State Rep. Bernie Buescher said last week that his interest lies in the potential chancellor position for now and he is “very interested in CSU.”

Because he said it is very unlikely that the BOG make the decision not to split the posts, Buescher, who is fresh off a term as the chair of the Colorado committee that dictates budgets for state institutions, did not confirm that he would be interested in the CSU-Fort Collins president position.

“Right now, I’m interested in the chancellor position, because that’s what (the board is) talking about,” he said.

Buescher said that he did not want to get ahead of a decision still in the hands of BOG members but said he meets what the board has listed as qualifications of a potential chancellor — an already established good relationship with both Gov. Bill Ritter and the state legislature, plus the ability to work well with the business community and CSU alumni.

BOG spokesperson Michele McKinney said that no one is being considered for a chancellor role yet, as “there really isn’t a job offer out there.”

“There are a lot of steps to be taken before a job is even posted,” she said. Those steps include first making a decision about whether the board will even create two positions.

The board is considering splitting the president and chancellor duties for the first time in decades, as the CSU-Fort Collins president has traditionally worn both hats.

McKinney said the board feels that it may be in the best interest of all its campuses — CSU-Fort Collins, CSU-Pueblo and CSU Global — to have a CSU System ambassador stationed in Denver at all times to represent student needs to the state legislature.

She said that only former U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard and Buescher have expressed interest in the potential position to the board thus far.

Buescher, a Democrat who acted as chair of the Joint Budget Committee and chair of the House Appropriations Committee, lost his bid for re-election to the JBC chair this year.

Ritter has called Buescher “just a fantastic human being,” but Buescher drew criticism from Laura Bradford, his opponent in this year’s election, for his support of Ritter’s move to freeze mill levies.

By freezing mill levies — a tax rate on residential properties that determines what dollar amount per $1,000 of property net worth the state must pay to fund K-12 education — local sources would have been forced to fund K-12 education instead, and the state could have funneled its savings into areas like higher education.

The proposal was ruled unconstitutional in May.

Allard, Buescher’s potential competitor for the chancellor position, has explicit ties to the CSU campus — Allard and his wife are both alumni — but Buescher said his own links are expressed through the work he has done for higher education and with the students.

August Ritter, former student government director of legislative affairs, said Associated Students of CSU representatives were the first group of students ever to testify in front of the JBC and “that was because Bernie Buescher let (them).”

“(Buescher) said ‘Yes, we want to hear what you have to say about tuition and funding,'” he said. August Ritter said the state funding that ASCSU requested and what actually appeared in the finalized Long Bill this year were very similar.

The bill, which dictates student tuition rates and is written by the JBC, was a prominent subject of concern last year, when former CSU President Larry Penley added a last-minute provision to it that would have raised tuition by 43 percent.

At the last second, ASCSU representatives stopped Penley’s attempted revision, which caused a public rift between Penley and Bill Ritter and “rocky relationship” with the legislature, said Seth Walters, current student government director of legislative affairs.

The next chancellor, Walters said, must maintain a better partnership with state lawmakers.

“(Buescher) has this place in his heart for students and for making sure higher education is not only affordable but that the state is doing everything they can to fund it, which is difficult to do in Colorado,” August Ritter said, as the state ranks 49th in the U.S. in funding for higher education.

He said he has a huge respect for Buescher.

“He’s intelligent, has a great heart and is also really caring . those three factors would make him a great choice for CSU,” he said.

Buescher said his management style is collaborative and he spends a lot of time listening.

“When it’s the right time, I want to hear the concerns of students,” he said.

The BOG is expected to discuss the potential position split at its next meeting, set for Dec. 2 and 3.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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WORLD AIDS DAY

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Nov 302008
 
Authors: Trevor Simonton

In the early 1980s, doctors believed that heterosexuals were not at any risk of contracting the AIDS virus, and initially categorized it as a disease that only affects homosexuals and drug users, contributing to extensive misunderstanding that AIDS is only a gay white man’s disease.

Before it became known as HIV and AIDS, some doctors even referred to it as the “Gay-Related Immune Deficiency.”

And although a more evolved knowledge of the disease exists today — the 20th annual World AIDS Day, which aims to bring worldwide awareness of the increasingly pervasive pandemic — activists and some religious leaders say that a lasting belief that AIDS is a punishment for sin still contributes to the “gay plague” stigma.

Irene Vernon, who has studied AIDS for almost two decades, said that there are many misconceptions about the disease, but the false belief that the virus is limited to white male homosexuals stands out from the rest as the most damaging.

“People lose their home and families, and are ostracized because of the stigma,” she said. “If we could deal with the stigma, people could be tested more frequently and the disease could be brought under control.”

Vernon also said diminished attention to the illness is an added detriment to the war on AIDS, as the initial period of awareness that followed its discovery has passed away, leaving a younger generation relatively uninformed of the reality of the problem.

She said in the U.S. widespread ignorance and misinformation leaves younger populations, women and minorities at an increased risk.

And despite tremendous advances in medicine that have prolonged and bettered the lives of the terminally diagnosed, a cure continues to elude scientists.

Since 1981, the total number of AIDS deaths in the U.S. and dependant areas neared 566,000 in 2006, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and continues to climb.

Jeff Basinger was diagnosed with HIV in 1985. He has since spent 22 years in the service of AIDS prevention and education, currently as the director of the Northern Colorado AIDS Project.

He said about 25 percent of those who have HIV are unaware they are infected and continue to infect others. He said this is why getting tested is so important: 65 percent of the people who find out they have HIV will stop exposing others to the disease.

The Stigma

According to the CDC’s 2006 report on AIDS in the U.S., the majority of AIDS and HIV victims on record are homosexual.

Basinger suggested this is because anal sex increases the chance of blood exchange, but as Vernon said, the numbers might not accurately reflect the true distribution of the disease.

This, she said, is because in the early days of discovery, only homosexuals got tested while many heterosexuals felt safe enough to not get a test.

In 1981 doctors believed that heterosexuals were not at any risk of contagion, and initially described AIDS as a disease that only affects gays and drug users, and as more homosexuals tested positive for AIDS, more people began referring to the disease as a “gay plague.”

Pastor Brent Cunningham of the Christian Timberline Church in Fort Collins maintains a blog in which he has discussed how hatred of homosexuality led some to believe that God was exacting a wrath on gays, and a lack of a will to understand became widespread in misinformed communities.

“I don’t know what would motivate someone to think like that,” he said. “I suppose it’s an easy response to an issue that is believed to be morally wrong. It’s easy in that it releases us from responsibility.”

Cunningham said AIDS is a problem in heterosexual communities as well, but he said regardless of sexual orientation, he understands how Christians see AIDS as a consequence for moral failing.

“It’s promiscuity that exposes people to venereal disease, just as smoking exposes us to lung cancer and overeating to heart disease,” he said. “Although there are extremists who believe God hates people, it’s not the majority. The Church has responded (to AIDS) with love regardless of vice.”

‘Diseases have

no borders’

Aside from acting as NCAP’s director for six years, Vernon is also the Department Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department at CSU, where she continues her 15-year study of AIDS in minorities.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Vernon lived with two gay men in San Francisco and watched first-hand how what was widely believed to be a homosexual disease transformed into what is now known as worldwide pandemic.

“Back then I thought it had nothing to do with me. I’m a woman and a minority,” she said. “As it changed, trends changed. It started moving into communities of color, and suddenly it has everything to do with me. AIDS is the number one killer of African American women — that’s just shocking to me.”

A study conducted by the Center for Disease Control in 2005 revealed that African Americans make up 49 percent of AIDS victims in the U.S.

“Diseases have no borders,” she said. “It’s worldwide. It’s not a gay disease. It’s contracted heterosexually. In parts of Africa women are infected at higher rates than men.”

Though Vernon’s studies focus specifically on AIDS in Native American communities, which have the lowest numbers of HIV infections of all minorities, she said patterns she finds in her study of these isolated communities are the same she sees nationwide:

Minorities are overwhelmingly in poverty

People in poverty often do not receive AIDS education

People in poverty often do not have access to health care

Heavy drug users are typically impoverished, and often share needles

“AIDS continues to flourish, and it’s flourishing in communities that are in poverty,” she said.

Treatment and

Transmission

MeriLou Johnson is a Denver Medical School Associate Professor in Medicine who has also spent over 20 years studying and helping fight the AIDS epidemic.

She now is the Program Director of the Colorado AIDS Education and Training Center, which trains clinicians how to treat HIV or AIDS infected patients.

She said the 23 different anti-retroviral drugs that are used to treat AIDS can be excessively complicated to prescribe.

They conflict with birth control, mental health drugs and can be highly dangerous to the metabolisms of certain people.

On top of that, they are extremely expensive. She said it generally costs about $23,000 a year for routine patient care, but without regular medication the virus will accelerate its destruction of the immune system.

“Science has come a long way,” she said, admitting that there are still a lot of fallacies in circulation about how AIDS and HIV are transmitted.

Johnson said that there are only four ways in which the disease is spread:

Blood transmission (i.e. shared needles)

Seminal fluid (highest viral load exists in semen)

Vaginal fluid

Breast Milk (lowest chance of transmission)

“Any exposure carries the risk of transmission,” she said. “Most often in anal, oral or vaginal sex . If exposure occurs, talk to someone immediately. There are places you can get treatment that will stop the disease in its tracks.”

If the disease is recognized early enough advances in medication have allowed doctors in some cases to prevent the disease from developing.

Staff writer Trevor Simonton can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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CSU to collaborate with two Chinese universities

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Nov 302008
 
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Immediately following their trip to Japan this month, a team of CSU deans and Interim CSU President Tony Frank traveled to China to begin negotiations resulting in research agreements and enhanced foreign exchange in one to two years, Frank said last week.

While logistics are still “in process,” CSU plans to collaborate with two Chinese universities, East China Normal University and the Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, to provide offices in each others’ campus to facilitate foreign exchange recruitment and to trade student scientists to conduct research overseas, respectively.

“China is an amazing place. The pace of general physical and social change is dizzying,” Frank said.

During the next one to two years, CSU will build on its recently established relationships with the schools to determine whether their collective goals and programs will align.

If plans are finalized, CSU will set up an office in East China Normal University’s Shanghai location with the intention of housing an overseas representative that will answer questions and promote student academic exchange. East China will establish the same office in the CSU-Fort Collins campus.

And at the Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Frank said that ensuring that student credits will easily transfer between it and CSU will be the first priority in progressing toward their planned joint PhD program.

“The opportunity for undergrads to go back and forth is an exciting one,” he said.

He said that because water is such a precious resource in China, negotiations that deal with it – as any agreement with its water research institute would do – must go through a cabinet-level minister.

Networking opportunities such as these provide CSU the opportunity to become a “world leader” in water research, Frank said. Work with the institute will aim to strengthen CSU’s current PhD in water management degree.

Frank said that finalizing details concerning next steps in China and in Japan will require more visits, as, because CSU is a government agency, project approval from the state takes time.

Referencing the fact that Shanghai built an entire campus in five years, Frank joked, “It takes (CSU) five years to even get approval.”

The opportunity to work with universities abroad, he said, increases his feeling that all institutes of higher education are a part of a bigger picture.

“Wherever I’ve been, I’ve always been struck by how similar people are: in what we enjoy, what we laugh at, what we worry about for our families,” he said. “When we talk about each other, so much of what we paint are our differences. Changing that perspective is a positive feeling.

“As long as we’re talking, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.”

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Rams pull out late victory

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Nov 202008
 
Authors: Adam Bohlmeyer

The Colorado State Rams could not have asked for things to go any better.

The Rams (6-6 4-4) defeated the Wyoming Cowboys (4-8 2-6) Saturday afternoon in a 31-20 come from behind victory, winning the coveted bronze boot trophy and achieving bowl eligibly for the first time in three years.

Wide receiver Dion Morton was stellar for CSU in the win, catching six passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns including a 31 yard game winning strike from quarterback Billy Farris, silencing Wyoming fans populating War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

Head coach Steve Fairchild was pleased with the Rams win, but explained that it wasn’t a pretty victory. CSU trailed Wyoming by as many as 11 points during the game and was behind 14-10 going into halftime.

“We came out and played good enough to win in the second half,” Fairchild said. “It doesn’t feel like a well played game. We made some real nice plays and the defense kept them out of the end zone and that was good.”

The Rams trailed the majority of the game, but jumped ahead of the Cowboys early in the fourth quarter on the strength of Morton’s touchdown catch. CSU’s defense took over from there, shutting out the Cowboy for the final fifteen minutes of the game, while recovering a fumble by UW running back Wynel Seldon. The turnover set up a five yard touchdown run from running back Gartrell Johnson that secured the Rams sixth win of the year.

Farris took pride in the win and explained that he was impressed by how much CSU improved during the season.

“It’s great because we haven’t done this in so long,” the senior said. “It’s great to feel like we’re turning this thing around. No body thought we could do it, but that’s the greatest thing about this team.”

Farris led the Rams air attack, passing for 235 yards, three touchdowns with one interception.

Linebacker Ricky Brewer, who led the Ram’s with 15 tackles, shared Farris’s excitement and said that the win provided one of the best feeling ever.

“I couldn’t be more elated not only for myself but also for my teammates,” the sophomore said. “This has been a long run all the way back to January. I feel it’s finally paid off.”

With the win, CSU reaches bowl eligibility and increases their chances for the post season. The Rams bowl hopes received a boost from University of Utah. The Utes defeated the BYU Cougars 48-24 and likely earned a BCS bowl birth. The win opens up a fourth contracted bowl spot for a Mountain West Conference team, one which could possibly be filled by CSU. The Rams will have to wait until Dec. 1 to know their official fate.

For now Farris said he was happy to win his first regular season game and accomplish their season long goal.

“It’s just been a lot of fun working with the guys on this team, and I’m never going to forget it,” he said. “Getting a group of guys together, going out, doing what you said you were going to do and getting to a bowl game is really special.”

Football beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at sports@collegian.com

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Travel-friendly schedule saves CSU much-needed money

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Nov 202008
 
Authors: Sean Star

A penny saved is a penny earned.

Such is the case this year for the Rams football team and the cash-strapped athletics department at CSU.

Thanks to a schedule drafted by the Mountain West Conference and three non-conference games played within state, the team is saving thousands of precious dollars from its travel budget, investing some of the extra money in recruiting as part of the program’s rebuilding efforts.

Because the Rams played road games at regional foes Air Force and Colorado earlier this year, along with a quick jaunt up to Wyoming this Saturday, all accessible with a two-hour bus ride, the team has only made three plane trips this season, compared to the five it made last year.

With a travel party of 130 – consisting of players, coaches, trainers, media, videographers, senior department staff members and donors – the bill for a plane trip adds up quickly.

Each flight carries a $75,000 price tag. Room and board costs an additional $12,000 to $18,000. A bus ride to and from Denver International Airport is $3,000, and an occasional highway patrol escort from the hotel to the stadium goes for another $1,000. Add it all up and the cost of traveling to an away game can reach nearly $100,000, according to Jeff Collier, the Athletics Department’s business manager.

Though Collier said the department budgets accordingly, he also said the team has saved money this year because of the Rams’ travel-friendly schedule.

And because of the savings, an extra $50,000 has been put toward recruiting this year. The program has also invested the extra money in video editing equipment, renovations to the locker room at Hughes Stadium and football supplies, Collier said. The rest has been put toward savings.

The extra funds came as a delightful surprise for assistant coach Greg Peterson, the team’s recruiting coordinator.

“I wasn’t even aware of it. That’s good news,” Peterson said. “But you think about it, and it makes sense. When you have monies within your program, you’re going to put it where you need it most. And right now, as we’re going through the season, pretty soon you start traveling, that’ll be great to have a few more resources.”

Peterson’s sentiments were echoed by first-year head coach Steve Fairchild, who on multiple occasions this year preached the importance of improved recruiting.

Since 2004, the team hasn’t had a recruiting class ranked higher than fourth in the conference, according to the recruiting Web site Rivals.com. In 2002 and 2003, CSU ranked second and third, respectively.

Collier said the program has already put some of the extra money toward a database that will help Fairchild and his staff organize their recruiting efforts.

As the recruiting season heats up with Thanksgiving break nearing, Peterson is anxious to make use of the extra funds.

“That’s a big difference,” he said. “And you think about it, too, with the price of fuel and airline tickets and what it costs to travel, and that means we can get out more and cover more ground and continue to improve this program.”

Schedule helpful for players, too

While having fewer plane flights is more cost efficient, it’s also preferable for the players.

After CSU defeated the San Diego State Aztecs 38-34 at Qualcomm Stadium on Oct. 25, a heavy fog fell over San Diego International Airport, and the Rams were unable to board their scheduled flight back home. Instead, they had to travel two hours north to Ontario, Calif., in order to fly back to Fort Collins.

When it was all said and done, players and coaches weren’t home until 5:30 in the morning.

“Honestly, getting back that late … it kind of threw my whole week off,” Rams senior wide receiver Dion Morton said. “I’m not going to lie to you, I was kind of tired through the week.”

A delayed flight is just one reason why players like Morton aren’t particularly fond of traveling long distances for away games.

“It seems like it’s a little more time consuming when you have to take a flight, especially when our flights this year have been to California, which have been a couple hours,” Morton said. “It seems like it kind of throws your day off a little bit, because we’re coming (to campus) in the morning for a walk-through, then eat and take a bus ride, then a plane ride. So it seems kind of long.”

“I’m just glad when it’s over most of the time,” he said.

So with the games against Colorado, Air Force and Wyoming all just a bus ride away, Morton welcomed this year’s travel-friendly schedule requiring only three plane rides.

In addition to a less-demanding itinerary, playing away games in close proximity allows players to feel more comfortable playing in what sometimes can be a hostile environment, coach Peterson said.

“I think it’s great from an expense standpoint, but it’s also great for our team,” the first-year offensive coordinator said. “You know, you’re not flying across the country to play a football game. You’re playing close to home by your fans, and that’s a benefit too.”

Another benefit of these away games is a higher per diem for the players.

For games that require a plane ride and a night in a hotel room, food is often combined with the cost of the hotel. In this case, players’ per diem is only $15. But when only a bus ride is required for travel, the per diem is raised to $35, which is an increase from $25 from last year, Collier said.

Players receive a higher per diem after games with bus trips so they can purchase their own food when they get back to Fort Collins.

This year’s $10 increase in per diem hasn’t gone unnoticed, Morton said.

“I definitely have (noticed the increase),” he said. “Any time you’re looking at money, you definitely see an increase. I thought maybe it was because my scholarship was being raised and they were being nice to me or something like that … but I’m thankful for as much money as I can get.”

The icing on the cake for Morton: The $35 per diem allows players to eat whatever they want, offering a greater variety.

“I’ve had the same thing for four years now after every game — chicken and hamburgers,” he said.

Athletics budget for CSU still lagging

While this year’s schedule is travel-friendly and cost efficient, the savings from taking two fewer plane trips is hardly enough for the athletics department to close the gap between CSU and the other eight schools in the Mountain West in terms of overall spending.

The department is slated to spend approximately $21.5 million this year, according to the university’s operating budget summary. While that would be a record amount, it’s projected again to be the lowest in the conference, Collier said.

“As of fiscal year ’08, which was last year, we were in last place in the conference by $3 million,” he said.

Texas Christian and Brigham Young, which are both private institutions, have the conference’s biggest budgets, outspending CSU by $14 million to $15 million a year, Collier said.

Part of the dearth of money at CSU stems from the state’s funding for higher education. Colorado ranked dead last in the country in 2007 for total revenue per student, according to a report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers.

However, CU-Boulder, the state’s other Division I public school, outspends CSU significantly.

CU’s athletics budget for 2007 was $33.5 million, according to a report by from the university’s budget office. That’s nearly double the money spent by CSU.

After increasing student fees the previous two years, Collier said the department is actively seeking numerous other sources to increase its budget, including the university’s institutional fund, donors, advertising, ticket sales and contributions from the community.

The department also expects to receive a boost in revenue through its partnership with the conference’s television network, The Mtn.

With a 5-6 record with and only one game remaining, the Rams are looking for a strong finish to their season in hopes of earning a bowl game berth, which would also generate money.

But don’t ask coach Fairchild to give you his opinion on his team’s chances of securing one of the conference’s four bowl games. Like most coaches, Fairchild is cautious about offering a look too far into the future, particularly with the intensity of this weekend’s rivalry.

“(Wyoming) would like nothing better than to spoil our outlook on things right now,” Fairchild said. “There’s no question that they’re going to play their best game on Saturday and we’re going to have to match it to even be in the game.”

Sports writer Sean Star can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Rams open home schedule with Idaho

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Nov 202008
 
Authors: Justin Warren

Saturday afternoon the Rams host their first regular season home game in Moby Arena against the Idaho Vandals.

The Rams started the regular season at 0-2, including a crushing 30-point loss to rival CU-Boulder Wednesday night, but coaches and players are still convinced this is a different basketball team than last year.

“This is a different Colorado State team than we played a year ago,” said head coach Kathy McConnell-Miller of CU after Wednesday night’s game. “They are more athletic, they have shooters and they have a good combination of players.”

“Overall I think we are doing a better job than last year,” said junior forward Juanise Cornell. “Coach Holt is putting us in positions were we are best at.”

A 0-2 start is not where the Rams and head coach Kristen Holt want to be, however, every week the team manages to improve on some aspect of the game.

In the first exhibition game against Adams State on Oct. 31, the Rams appeared sluggish during the second half, and Holt made it a priority to work on conditioning in practice the following week.

The team’s conditioning in practice paid off as the Rams were able to run up a down the court for the entire game defeating Colorado Christian 94-66.

Against Wichita State, CSU was forced to play without five of their players, while committing 26 turnovers and having trouble from the foul line.

Wednesday night the Rams significantly subtracted their turnover margin against CU, only giving the ball up 12 times, while also improving their free throw percentage by shooting to 75 percent in the first half and 55.6 percent in the second.

The only problem that seemed to curse the team in both regular season games was fouling.

The Rams sent the Buffs to the line 24 times in that game, which is something coach Holt hopes will not happen against Idaho.

“(Fouling) better be down. It has to change at some point,” Holt said.

To prepare for the Vandals on Saturday, the Rams worked on some different features of the game.

“Well Idaho has played zone against Montana and Texas Tech, and we probably have not worked on any zone offense prior today, so we have been putting that in (to practice),” Holt said. “They like to penetrate and kick out, so we worked on our man as well.”

A good note for the Rams is that starting sophomore point guard Zoi Simmons will be returning to her position for Saturday’s game. Simmons sat out the first two games of the season with a minor knee injury.

“It is to good have her back because we are finally getting the team we thought we were going to have at the beginning of the year back,” Holt said.

“I cannot wait to get back on the court,” Simmons said.

During the first two games, sophomore Bonnie Barbee substituted in the point guard position for Simmons, scoring 16 points against Wichita State and 13 points in Boulder Wednesday night.

“Her performance was awesome,” said Simmons of Barbee. “She stepped up her game and I am proud of her.”

Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Moby Area. Idaho is also looking for their first win of the season after falling to Texas Tech 90-55 and Montana 55-36 to start the year.

Women’s basketball beat writer Justin Warren can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

CSU safety carousel stops with Smith, Galusha

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Nov 202008
 
Authors: Matt L. Stephens

When the season started, there were a lot of questions about the CSU football team. How will senior Billy Farris do at quarterback? Which running back will produce more, Kyle Bell or Gartrell Johnson III? How improved will the offensive line be from a year ago? And the list goes on.

One of the things the Rams were sure of was their safety play, anchored by senior Mike Pagnotta and junior Klint Kubiak. The corps was clearly one of the strong points for CSU and the two veterans produced when they were on the field, combining for 81 tackles and three interceptions – highlighted by Kubiak’s game winning pick in the end zone against Houston.

But that was the start of the season and this is its end. The two safeties have been plagued by injuries, so stepping in to successfully fill their shoes are senior strong safety Jake Galusha and freshman free safety Elijah-Blu Smith.

Head coach Steve Fairchild has been impressed with the way Smith and Galusha have stepped up.

“Elijah and Galusha have really done a nice job for us and that will pay dividends next year,” Fairchild said. “Elijah can play both safety and corner, so that will help.”

Galusha, who will be playing in his final Border War on Saturday at Wyoming, said it means a lot to him, personally, to be able to play and represent Pagnotta.

“For sure, I’m playing for Pags. Unfortunately he’s out, but Pags has a chance to really play if we make it to a bowl,” Galusha said. “So that gives a little extra to me and Blu back there playing for our buddies. Four years, toughing it out for the same guys, you really like to have a chance to play for those guys.”

Galusha, who was recruited by the Cowboys out of high school, added he sees Wyoming as the Rams biggest rivalry right now, especially with a possible bowl berth on the line.

Smith, who hasn’t had near as much collegiate experience as Galusha, says that Pagnotta and Kubiak have given him a lot of pointers on playing safety at the college level.

“Whenever I come off the field, they’re telling me ‘these guys do this and that’,” said the Los Angeles native. “With everything, they’ve helped so much-they’ve helped me out tremendously.”

For the Rams, this season is one that shows glimpses of what may be a great future in CSU football. For the Cowboys, it had been a disappointing season until three weeks ago when redshirt freshman Chris Sutzriem was inserted into the starting quarterback role, finally sparking the Wyoming offense with wins at San Diego State and Tennessee.

Fairchild believes his defense is ready for Stutzriem and the rest of the Cowboy offense, but any quarterback, young or old, gets better the more he plays.

“I think they’ve settled on Chris Stutzriem, and he’s got good size and he’s like any new guy, he’s going to have some growing pains and he’s always going to be a victim of what’s around him,” Fairchild said, who is revisiting the Border War for the first time since 2000.

“But again, anytime you can put a good defense and running game around a quarterback, it’s going to make him look pretty darn good. I’ve always felt that way about quarterbacks. You don’t want to force an issue and name somebody too early if you’re not sure, and we didn’t do that here. But eventually you’d like to get a guy and start grooming him because experience is a key factor at that spot. The more a guy plays, the better he’s going to be.”

Saturday at noon, the world will see which former backup talent prevails, the safeties or the quarterback.

Football beat writer Matt Stephens can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm