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Harding University gets road trip respect during Final Four

Michigan and Louisville weren’t the only big winners on Final Four weekend.
The Harding University Bisons got praise from CBS Sports and Enterprise Rent-A-Car during the Final Four coverage for emerging victorious in the “Best Road Trip Destination in College Basketball” competition.
Harding’s Rhodes Field House — a converted World War II-era airplane hangar and home of the “Rhodes Rowdies,” arguably the loudest fans in college basketball — beat out eight other college hoops venues to win the prize. (One of them was Wichita State University — the Cinderella team that made it to the Final Four and fell to Louisville.)

It’s nice to see college students still engaged by print media. The Rhodes Rowdies read “The Bison” while players from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. A film crew gathered footage during the game for use during the Final Four feature on Harding. (Photo by Ashel Parsons)

Kelli Zink, who hosted the CBS feature, had this to say in a blog post about the experience:

Enterprise Rental had a Facebook contest where fans voted to help their school win and featured in a piece on CBS to air during the Final Four.
Believe it or not — Harding University won.
Now, as someone who went to a Big Ten school — and not just any school, one with one of the best college basketball programs out there — I was a bit confused as to how a Division 2 school won.
Turns out, the entire student body and their cousins’ cousins voted once a day. Dedication wins, people.
So we headed out to Little Rock for part one of the shoot, and then moved along to Searcy, AR.
Searcy is the first DRY COUNTY I’ve ever been to. I didn’t really know those existed to be honest, nor did I realize that to have a drink one would need to travel 30 miles from Searcy. Wild.

But I will say, there is something magical about the South. The hospitality of the people is something unlike anything I’ve seen in the Midwest.


A few more links from this weekend’s rowdiness: A feature on the media attention in Harding’s student newspaper, The Bison, and a video of the university’s reaction to the victory.

  • Feedback
    The plural of Bison is Bison.
    Arkansas Native
    Arkansas Native
    April, 8 2013

    Arkansas Native: Usually we require those who comment to leave a name, but since you make a good point …
    If you look through <a href=”http://www.hardingsports.com” rel=”nofollow”>Harding’s sports website</a> you’ll find lots of references to “Bisons.” (The women’s team is known as the Lady Bisons.)
    We tend to give sports teams a bit of leeway. Here in Oklahoma, our NBA team is the Thunder, the plural of which is, well, Thunder, I guess. But I’ve never heard anyone call us “Thunders.”
    I should point out here that my alma mater, <a href=”http://www.lipscombsports.com/”Lipscomb University</a rel=”nofollow”>Lipscomb University</a>, also calls its teams “Bisons” and “Lady Bisons.” The big question on my mind isn’t how to pluralize it, but why two Church of Christ schools couldn’t come up with more than one animal.
    Erik Tryggestad
    April, 8 2013

    Last year, Lipscomb experimented with going to “Bison” but after testing it via Twitter and some press releases decided to stick with “Bisons”.
    I always thought Harding used the correct plural, Bison.
    Andrew Smith
    April, 8 2013

    Also, the Bison is the mascot of Bethany College (Alexander Campbell’s school). I have often wondered about the possibility of an historical connection with Harding and Lipscomb.
    Dennis Cox
    April, 9 2013

    The topic of Bison vs. Bisons came up a few years ago. Two professors wrote guest columns for the school newspaper, The Bison, about whether or not the sports teams should be called the Bison or the Bisons. They concluded that Bison is being used here as a proper noun, and thus the standard pluralization of adding an “s” applies.
    When 2500 Rowdies get vertical and vocal, the Bisons have a big advantage. Visiting teams remember how it feels when that place gets Loud, Proud and Rowdy!
    Jeff Lewis
    April, 9 2013

    This photo of the Harding University group reminds me of the 1985-’90 period when I was University Registrar at Abilene Christian University. The section “F” rowdies brought “The Optimist”, campus newspaper, to Wildcat games. As the visiting team players were introduced, the “rowdies” would vigorously “rattle” their newspapers, shouting “Who’s he?” Of course the entire Moody Coliseum would erupt in laughter! Unfortunately, this action was condemned by the then Athletic Director, personally selected by “the administration”, though he was NEVER an ACU athlete, to stop this kind of fun student sports behavior. HOW SAD!! Though it got no action from “the administration,” the students involved loudly complained, to no avail. Their behavior was condemned as “rude, and unsportsmanlike!”
    The bahavior was not obscene or unsportsmanlike as viewed by the adults at ACU games. What a shame that a few individuals (athletic director included) squelched such humorous behavior as “unchristian!”
    Dr. Don Stafford
    April, 11 2013

Filed under: News Extras Photos and Videos

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