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Sen. Tim Flakoll, Published September 19 2013

Letter: ESPN 'GameDay' another sign of vitality of great university

The announcement of ESPN coming to Fargo has caused me to think about how far we have come.

Fifteen years ago, before Renaissance Zone legislation and visionary and bold investments by businesspeople, we did not have a downtown that was the gem it is today – look how far we have come. Eleven years ago when North Dakota State University was Division II and had never hosted a playoff game in the Fargodome, not many people saw the move up to Division I leading to this path – look how far we have come. After moving to Division I, I remember people shouting “Hey, look … look, the NDSU score is scrolling on ESPN,” and now our community is hosting their marque three-hour show – look how far we have come.

Nine years ago, NDSU opened up their first building in downtown Fargo, and now there are nearly 4,000 students, faculty and staff in the three NDSU facilities – look how far we have come. The idea of a new tailgating plan came up not that many years ago to extend the game day experience. Today tailgating is packed with excited “Bison Nation” fans and people who line up with their custom tailgate rigs hours before the game for a good spot – look how far we have come.

I believe it was former NDSU President H. R. Albrecht (1962-67) who once said, “The state is our campus.” That was true at the time, but today the nation and the world are part of the campus, both academically and because of the athletic programs. Look how far we have come.

So welcome, ESPN. We are thrilled that you are here and excited for what the next 10 years will bring.

Flakoll, R-Fargo, represents District 44 in the North Dakota Senate. He is director of operations for NDSU Downtown.