Screw the Roo!

Randy Ziemnik

As the old saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.” I try my hardest to live by that saying, but growing up in a home where you were encouraged to speak your mind, the old adage often goes by the wayside. As is the case with the University of Akron, their athletic teams and, most importantly, their fans.

Believe me, I’ve tried to think of nice things to say about the University of Akron — it’s harder than you think — but all I could really come up with is that they have a nice football stadium, their president is in pretty cool commercials and LeBron James used to go to Akron basketball games. But that’s about it.

When it comes right down to it, the University of Akron has more flaws than a Toyota gas pedal. But since Kent State is taking on the Zips with the MAC regular season title hanging in the balance, we’ll focus on The University of Akron’s basketball program.

Let’s start with the James A. Rhodes Arena, where Akron plays its home games. It is easily one of the worst facilities in the MAC and is in dire need of a total renovation. It really shows you where the University of Akron’s priorities are when they build a brand new multi-million dollar football stadium for a god-awful football team and leaves a winning basketball team to play in a second-rate facility. And not to mention the arena’s named after a governor who ordered national guardsmen to the Kent State campus in early May 1970, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Then there’s the nickname and mascot. First off, I understand that Zips is short for Zipper, which has its origins in Akron — and I challenge you to button your pants without one — but a zipper just doesn’t instill fear in anyone unless you’re a male who gets a certain body part stuck in it. And as for the overweight kangaroo “Zippy” goes, I’ve never seen a kangaroo anywhere in Northeast Ohio besides the zoo. I simply don’t fear him/her as the slogan “Fear the Roo” would want you to think. I believe Zippy would be better served on an episode of “The Biggest Loser” than at an Akron sporting event.

And while we’re on the topic of the biggest loser, let’s take a look at Keith Dambrot. Now don’t get me wrong, Dambrot has really turned around the fortunes of Akron basketball. But if there were no LeBron James, Dambrot wouldn’t be anywhere near a college basketball program, unless he had tickets to the game. Dambrot left Central Michigan in the early 90s amidst controversy, with a subpar record and was exiled to coach high school basketball in Akron. Insert Lebron James and you know the rest. Dambrot owes his recent success to Lebron James, plain and simple. It’s pretty sad when a grown man owes his career to a high schooler.

Now to the worst part of the Akron Basketball program: the fans. The so called “AK-ROWDIES” are anything but. If dressing up in face pant, wearing all white and donning wrestling belts is your idea of being rowdy, then Akron fans are rowdy. If showing up at opposing stadiums and spray painting them is rowdy, once again Akron fans are mad rowdy. And if posting a video on YouTube of a freshman sideline reporter who’s learning, a foreign concept to Akron students, then Akron fans are the rowdiest in the country. Bottom line, Akron fans’ actions are more trashy than rowdy if you ask me.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Contact assistant sports editor Randy Ziemnik at [email protected].