In-state scholarships; ACA report coming

It’s a novel idea, one that the often-contradictory NCAA would have to likely sign off on: three or more scholarships for the University of Wyoming’s football program for just in-state athletes.

One common lament is how Wyoming coaches either choose not to recruit, or ignore, Wyoming high school’s best players. One oft-cited example is Jordan Roberts of Sheridan, an All-Stater a few years ago for the Broncs’ state title team. He has played well for South Dakota State.

The idea is from Gary Stevenson, former running back for the Cowboys who starred at Buffalo, and is, like many others, a devoted alum. Stevenson of Sheridan owns Stevenson Newspapers, community newspapers in five-plus states, including Wyoming.

“When you lose guys like Roberts, fans don’t like it,” Stevenson says.

New UW football coach Craig Bohl, currently trying to lead the North Dakota State Bison to a third national Football College Series championship, will be on the sidelines for the Cowboys next season.

“Bohl’s a winner,” Stevenson adds, “he knows how to recruit athletes into a tough climate. He knows how to build a winning tradition. He recruited guys to North Dakota State, guys who beat Division 1 players. His teams often received votes in the D-1 polls.”

That’s part of the rub, too. Division 1. The big leagues of college football. It seems to be a split sentiment: some want the Cowboys to drop down a level, ala the University of Montana and North Dakota State, and become a winner on a smaller stage. Others vehemently say no way. “There’s a lot of pride in being a Division 1 School. It helps Wyoming recruit,” says another.

Much is made of Wyoming’s size: geographically it’s 10th in the nation, and 50th in population. At the season’s close, one player with Wyoming roots was on the roster.

Stevenson’s idea may gain traction. The fan base yearns for something resembling a winner, something better than its lifetime .484 win/loss percentage. One thing is certain: devoted alumni are willing to genuinely help, unlike rabid fan “nations,” so accustomed to winning, their efforts either fall in the over-the-top side of the ledger, or worse, smug indifference.

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From the Moving-the-Cheese, file…..

Tomorrow, The Sheridan Press will publish a special 12-page section devoted to the Affordable Care Act. It’s the third enterprise journalism project of 2013. (The other two concentrated on this area’s energy industry and the renewal of the cap tax.)

The Press’ section will further profile — more so on a local premise than what’s read and heard from the national media — on what’s ahead in navigating the ACA. Story lines include the uninsured and what they face, a look at preventive care, how the ACA will affect small business and much more. The news staff has been working on this project for several months, in addition to their daily news responsibilities. It’s a keeper.

I must admit, when managing editor Kristen Czaban first floated the idea, I didn’t embrace it, citing “fatigue” with “Obamacare,” the nightly drumbeat of cable news shows talking it up or down; then the abysmal October launch and near-constant spinning from the White House staff and the president himself.

This is good reading, informative and unique in many ways to what’s been published.

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Shop Sheridan, this weekend!

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