The football program of Appalachian State University accomplished quite the feat: defeating #5 ranked Michigan at the Big House. Not many Division I-A teams can do that, and for Appalachian State, a member of the formerly known Division I-AA, to do so sent ripples throughout the nation. From a public relations perspective, Appalachian State has been receiving so much coverage that it is no longer a simple state university in the mountains of North Carolina. It has been featured on ESPN and ESPN.com. Even CNN and many other news networks have carried the news. On the radio Jerry Moore, the coach for the Mountaineers was quoted to say that this has been the most amount of publicity the school has received (and note: App. State has won the previous two Division I-AA Championships).
But this isn’t the only coverage App. State has been receiving.
During the Teen USA pageant, the contestant from South Carolina gave an interesting response to a question on U.S. education. How do these two events connect? The contestant will be attending Appalachian State.
So after a million hits on YouTube to watch the contestant’s answer, and the million hits on ESPN to watch highlights from the game, App. State’s image is put in an interesting position. On one side, there’s excellence in athletics, on the other, App. State’s position in academics.
Is this even a problem App. State should worry about? If so, how do you think university officials should handle it?