Sunday, August 19, 2018


San Jose State University
Reaches For New Hypes

What’s In a Name?
Do any of you remember when San Jose State University was called Minns Evening Normal School, after George W. Minns founded it in San Francisco in 1857. George was an 1836 graduate of Harvard College, and we have a Harvard connection. In 1862, it became the California State Normal School and graduated fifty-four women from a three-year program. Your school was ahead of today’s times regarding women in higher education.

The school moved to San Jose in 1871, and in 1882, a southern branch of the now named California State Normal School opened in Los Angeles, and eventually became UCLA. So add to the school’s pedigree, that it helped to foster UCLA’s phenomenal basketball empire.

In 1921, the northern school changed its name to the State Teachers College at San Jose. In 1935, the name was changed once again to San Jose State College, and in keeping with the school’s need to change names as often as possible, in 1972 SJSC was granted university status, and was renamed California State University, San Jose. In 1974, the California legislature voted to change the school’s name to San Jose State University.

Change by Degrees
My Master of Science Degree granted in 1971 was granted by the Department of Mass Communications at San Jose State College, and would have come from San Jose State University a year later.  At one time it was the Department of Journalism and Advertising, and that morphed into the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (JMC).

Change by Decrees
For many years, JMC was part of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts (CASA), but that has recently changed and has now been prestigiously renamed as the College of Health and Human Sciences.  Journalism and Mass Communications have nothing to do with Health, although under the Trump reign, they may be needed to teach students on how to improve the nation’s mental health.

Football Is a Kick
During the 2017 football season, the SJSU football team played at CEFCU stadium that once was called Spartan Stadium. It was completed in 1933 with a seating capacity of 18,000, and n the 1980s capacity was increased to 30,456.

Not that many seats were needed last season as SJSU’s home attendance in 2017 averaged only 14,206 people per game, including 18,483 in attendance for the Spartans’ 27-10 home game loss to Fresno State. During most recent football and basketball seasons, attendance spiked whenever a caravan of Bulldog fans drove over and put more red-clad people in the stands than the Spartans were able to muster.

$old to the Highest Bidder
In August 2016, the aforementioned Spartan Stadium became CEFCU Stadium, after the Citizens Equity First Credit Union purchased the naming rights for $8.7 million over the next fifteen years. SJSU became the only university in the CSU system to sell the naming rights to its football stadium, for $580,000 per year.

With a 2 win and 11-loss season in 2017, and a total home attendance of 85.235 over six games, will it be worth it for CEFCU? Last September, SJSU absorbed a 56-0 loss in an away game against the University of Texas, in front of a crowd of 88,117 fans.

The Rest Is Yet to Come
With only an 14,206 average attendance last year, San Jose State was able to transfer their October 13, 2018 game against the U.S. Military Academy — Army — from CEFCU Stadium to Levi’s Stadium in nearby Santa Clara. Levi’s has a seating capacity of 68,000, however, it is expandable to 75,000 to host major events such as the Super Bowl and the World Cup.

Will SJSU vs. Army be such a major event? How many of USMA’s 4,389 undergraduate students will be willing to drive the 2,951 miles to Santa Clara, take more than forty-three hours to do so, and then pay $59 for a single ticket to attend? They won’t be filling up Levi’s for a match between San Jose State’s 2017 team with their 2-11 record. Army with a 10-3 record last year, will warm up in 2018 by playing, among others, Liberty, Hawaii and Buffalo before SJSU, and then Miami of Ohio, Eastern Michigan, Lafayette, and Colgate.

Spartan’s head football coach Brent Brennan was beside himself when he enthusiastically endorsed the venue change. "It's going to be an awesome experience for our team. Any chance you get to play in an NFL venue like that, be in an NFL locker room, play of an NFL surface, it will be an incredible experience for our fans and our football team." 

"Just knowing the Pac-12 Championship is played there every year and having the College Football Championship there, it doesn't get any bigger than that. I think it's a great lineup of college football in the stadium this season and we're excited to be a part of it."

Hope that the 2018 Spartans will be as thrilled with Levi’s NFL venue, NFL locker room, and playing on an NFL surface, as their coach is.

One advantage of this match-up is that the SJSU players will be able to look into the stands, and easily find and identify their family and friends occupying a few of the seats at Levi’s.

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