By Derek Noehren, Nate Tenopir, Contributor, Editor-in-Chief
This article is not real in virtually any way, shape or form. This article is presented for April Fool’s Day and meant for entertainment purposes ONLY. Views expressed are not that of the University or the Gateway staff as a whole. Laugh, chuckle, giggle and gasp at our not-so-serious rendition of the UNO Gateway.
In a move that shocked some and excited others, the UNO Athletic Department announced it would be joining an effort by The Summit League to start play in a controversial new sport. In the spring of 2014 the conference will offer a championship in lingerie football.
“For us, it was really a no brainer,” said UNO Director of Sports Development Phil St. Pierre. “With a professional lingerie football team starting play here in Omaha in just a few weeks, we figured the fans would appreciate the game from the college ranks as well. At least we hope to be able to field a team before most of the players hit their freshmen 15.”
Admittedly, Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple said the move was somewhat reactionary. The announcement Creighton University was leaving the Missouri Valley Conference two weeks ago is predicted by some to start a domino effect.
Two Summit League schools, North Dakota State and South Dakota State, are already members of the Missouri Valley for the sport of football. Several members of the media and some conference officials suspect NDSU and SDSU may jump ship to take Creighton’s spot in the Valley.
“When seven schools from the Big East announced they were peeling off the handwriting was on the wall,” Douple said. “Creighton seemed like the next, most likely target. We had some contingency plans for dealing with teams defecting to the Valley. When our intern suggested this one, we were all on board.”
The plan is for a 12-game schedule where members of the conference will play each other twice. So far UNO, Denver, IUPUI, IPFW, Western Illinois and Oakland have agreed to field a team.
After the 12-game schedule the top two teams will play for The Summit League Championship. Currently none of the six schools other than Western Illinois have the facilities to host a football game.
However, Douple said those five schools are all within metropolitan areas and there will be more than enough arenas to choose from.
“Currently we have a half dozen or so places in each city competing to host Summit League lingerie football,” Douple said. “What’s different about finding a home for lingerie football and every other sport is these arenas are bidding to pay us to get us in their facility. In house concession profits and parking will go to the arena but tickets and merchandise will go directly to the school. It’s something that has the potential to turn the budgets around for some of our schools that are sitting in the red.”
One of the bidders to host UNO lingerie football is the City of Omaha Parks and Recreation. In an attempt to do away with the restaurant tax, Mayor Jim Suttle has proposed holding the games at Memorial Park, just across from the UNO campus.
With the mayoral primary being held today, this eleventh-hour idea from the Suttle campaign may just get Suttle into the general election in May.
“We’re still looking at things like how much of a traffic delay a lingerie football game would causeon Dodge Street if we host it at Memorial Park,” Suttle said. “The restaurant tax has raised a lot of funds for Omaha, but it may have run its course. If I put college-age women in lingerie at Memorial Park and use the admission and concession prices to lower taxes who could possibly bitch about that?”
Since the announcement was just made and finals are a month away, UNO plans to hold try outs once classes conclude in early May. Because lingerie football is a brand new sport to college athletics, the six schools participating will be recruiting athletes from their own student body.
St. Pierre encourages all the ladies who appeared in last Novembers’ Gateway Sports Swimsuit Issue to try out for the team.
“Talent is pretty relative when it comes to lingerie football,” St. Pierre said. “The football for the first few seasons might be kind of rough so we’re focusing more on putting a good product on the field. A product the fans will enjoy seeing physically as well as athletically.”
The addition of the new sport has sparked an unusual battle between several companies vying for the right to be the official outfitter for Maverick lingerie football. Although Adidas is the Mav’s regular apparel company, Victoria Secret and Fredrick’s of Hollywood have made a big push for the rights to outfit the new team.
Adidas and Nike are expected to compete alongside normal lingere designers when the two companies introduce their new athletic lingerie lines in June. Since UNO was one of the first schools to jump on board, both Adidas and Nike will hold fashion shows in Omaha the same time as the College World Series.
“We believe our products provide exceptional comfort and support and would give the student-athletes the best opportunities to feel good and look great out on the field,” said Phil Knight, chairman of Nike, Inc.
Economic professors at all six universities expect lingerie football to be a financial windfall for their athletic departments. But when asked if he thought the idea might bring North Dakota State and South Dakota state back to The Summit League, Douple didn’t seem too concerned.
“We wouldn’t be heartbroken if NDSU and SDSU decided to leave the conference,” Douple said. “Have you been to North Dakota? The women up there are, well, let’s just say they’ve got that winter coat effect going on all year. I’m not sure the girls in Omaha, Denver or Indianapolis could balance out the beauty factor with those buffaloes.”