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Jeff Kolpack, Published June 24 2012

Kolpack: What's a bigger deal: NDSU football or UND hockey?

A phone call came to the office earlier this week from the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan leader was asked for advice on the following topic: What is better, UND hockey or NDSU football?

There are three things you should never do in life, the Dalai Lama told me. One, do not swim with hungry great white sharks. Two, do not climb Mount Everest without a coat. Three, do not touch that NDSU football versus UND hockey question.

Words of wisdom.

Thanks.

That may work in the world of philosophy, but that doesn’t fly in the world of NDSU vs. UND in anything. The comparison works in that both are successful in the division in which they compete. For that fact alone, how you can differentiate between the two programs is beyond me, and I’m not even going to try.

The Division I Football Championship Subdivision has 138 teams, with perhaps only 10 to 15 capable of winning a national championship on a yearly basis. Division I hockey has 58 programs, with perhaps only 10 to 15 capable of winning a national championship on a yearly basis.

The key to driving the bus in both programs is simple: money.

Both are fully funded, with head coaching salaries somewhere in the neighborhood of the top 10 in each division. Both have facilities that are in the top five of each division.

Ralph Engelstad Arena was built with virtually unlimited funds, a final tally somewhere around $104 million. The Fargodome was originally built at $48 million, but improvements like the $6.8 million lobby addition and the $3 million artificial turf project this summer have pushed the building’s value well past that.

NDSU has a state-of-the-art $3 million office complex. UND head coach Dave Hakstol does not go to work in a cubicle.

It now costs 10 times more for an NDSU Team Maker to obtain premium season tickets at the dome than it used to at Dacotah Field. Administrators say there is a waiting list of sorts to get those seats.

There is no such thing as college programs winning on the cheap. There’s a direct correlation to budget and winning percentage.

The Dalai Lama is more about inner peace and happiness than wins and losses and would probably cringe at that thought. He is also not a Team Maker or a Sioux Booster.

His Holiness would last less than a year walking in the shoes of Dave Hakstol or Craig Bohl. The Dalai Lama helps drive world order in a bus that needs more drivers.

Money drives the bus at UND hockey and NDSU football. Just ask their opponents.


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Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia