YPSILANTI, Mich. —- As the old saying goes- money is the root of all that is evil.
Unfortunately nieces and nephews money is what makes the world go around and everything has a price tag attached to it and the debt must be paid.
Eastern Michigan University football program is not immune to the expense of the price tag that is attached to running a top-rate football program.
So here we are nieces and nephews in the portion of the Eagles’ schedule were the money is nice but the opponents they play are bigger in stature, in reputation, athletically superior and winning a game would be a divine intervention.
Example of this happen last Saturday afternoon’s football game as the Eagles suffered through a 31-3 defeat against the neighbor just seven miles away, the University of Michigan.
In front of a crowd of 110,343 the Eagles worked hard in the first half and kept the Wolverines backed-up across the 50-yard line and in fact the Eagle offense faced the goal line and the ball sat as close as it could get to the goal line without being inside the end zone.
After four tries the defense of the University of Michigan flexed there collective muscle and the Eagles’ offense called four safe run plays but the Wolverines stopped the Eagles and then handed the game over to the talent of quarterback Desmond Robinson.
The Eagles did strike pay dirt hitting a 21-yard field goal scored by place kicker Kurt Fulkerson in the first quarter giving Eastern Michigan a brief lead in the game.
At the end of the game and with the paycheck in hand the Eagles took the short seven mile bus ride back to Ypsilanti and began preparation for this weeks’ opponent Penn State University.
Another visit to the Big Ten Conference which means another big payday for the Eagles athletic department a gift from the Eastern Michigan University football program.
Nieces and nephews that follow Eastern Michigan University football always inquire with Uncle Mel, why do they have to see these teams on the schedule?
The answer is complex with many angles but when a team resides near or at the bottom of the Mid-American Conference, then a program like the Eastern Michigan University football program must schedule games like these to produce revenue.
Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English with his overall record an unimpressive four wins and 23 defeats and he is in his third year of a rebuilding a program that was standing with both feet inside a grave.
The rebuilding of this program for English is everything from coaching athletes to play the game with respect and also change the mental aspect of the game.
He is teaching athletes to be responsible for there actions and he is teaching his players that the education that they receive at Eastern Michigan University and obtaining their degree is the most important lesson he is teaching.
Another lesson that the Eagles are learning is starting right inside the clubhouse and that is the lesson of changing the mind set of many players according to English.
English said too many times the Eagles started too many games with no hope of winning.
He also had to earn the trust of the players, the assistant coaches and of the athletic administration at Eastern Michigan University.
The trust factor is the hardest component to install, the players, the coaching staff and the athletic community at Eastern Michigan University – as they say in poker – they have to go all-in and trust English and his philosophy.
English and his staff have been rewarded with a suitable pay raise and the upgrading of the football facility and English says that these improvements should make the Eagles more competitive in the Mid-American Conference.
The price being paid by and the foundation being laid by the student-athletes today will be leaving a large debt that is being paid for now but the rewards that will be enjoyed by the future student athletes playing football for Eastern Michigan University will be priceless.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.