The Top Ten…


Change abounded in the past year at SDSU, both on campus and across Brookings. New buildings and businesses sprang from the earth, and old ones got extreme makeovers. SDSU hit record enrollment and left an athletic division and an old conference behind.

The events of 2003-04 , whether tragic, triumphant or simply interesting, shaped those involved and affected the future in countless and, as of yet, unforseen ways. Members of the Collegian editorial board compiled the following list of the 10 most significant news events of the last year:

10. The sex column

A Collegian columnist writes about a certain sexual act for Juice’s weekly sex advice column, generarating controversy and raising questions of propriety, maturity and newsworthiness.

The controversy makes several local newscasts and an online news website.

The Collegian editorial staff meets with an advisory board made up of alumni, student affairs faculty members and journalism instructors to discuss the issue and try to prevent future editorial problems or discrepancies.

9. SDSU takes a break from rock

SDSU goes country in March, bringing in Mark Wills and Josh Turner for one of the most successful concerts the school had seen in several years. With lackluster ticket sales at last year’s Everclear/the Exies/Sister Hazel concert and a deflating big concert fund, SDSU’s University Program Council decides to shift the focus from rock acts to country. It proves to be a wise decision. The Performing Arts Center Great Hall, with about 1,000 seats, sells out.

“A few years ago every major concert was always a country concert,” says Abby Bischoff, who’s in charge of concerts for UPC. “It was fairly unsuccessful, which is why (recent concerts have been mostly) rock.”

“(The success of the show) showed a renewed or untapped want for country artists on campus.”

While Bischoff admitted that the student body’s taste can change from year to year, and next year holds no guarantee of country success, she adds “I’m sure it’ll be something they’ll try again.”

8. Adam’s victorious foot

Adam Vinatieri kicks the winning field goal in this year’s Super Bowl, leading to a last-second New England Patriots victory.

The SDSU graduate’s 41-yard goal thrust the Patriots ahead of the Carolina Panthers with only a few seconds left in Super Bowl XXXVII. The Panthers had just tied up the game a minute earlier.

Vinatieri had missed two previous field goals in the match-up. But pressure was nothing new for him-he helped the Patriots win Super Bowl XXXVI victory against the St. Louis Rams with a similar last-second kick.

Vinatieri easily split the posts.

Vinatieri’s boot was one of the high points of this year’s pigskin championship, which included Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson’s halftime boobie show.

7. Leading lady

Amanda Mattingly is elected as the first female Student Association president since 1998.

Mattingly and running mate Doug Timm receive 1093 votes, or 56 percent of the vote.

SDSU sophomore Donnie Parsons, a Jackrabbit runningback, dies of an asthma attack in September. The 19-year-old Omaha, Neb., native plays in his first college game against Winona State (Minn.), and falls ill after returning to his dorm room. He is taken to the Brookings Hospital where he dies.

“Our football family has lost a very special young man in Donnie Parsons,” says head SDSU football coach John Stiegelmeier in a university statement. “What he gave to SDSU will be truly missed.”

5. The boots are back in town

Some locally-based troops return from Iraq.

In late March, the 727th Transportation Company, the first South Dakota unit deployed to the Middle East, returns to the communities whereit’s based.

Brookings soldiers are welcomed home with a parade.

Only three members of the unit were seriously injured while stationed in Iraq.

Meanwhile, other area troops, including the 740th Transportation Company, have their stay extended several months due to escalating violence.

4. Fire burns student, evicts five more

A Feb. 18 early-morning fire leaves one student in intensive care and five others without a home. It takes 40 firefighters over four hours to put the fire out in the duplex, which is located at 215 and 216 6th Ave. Most of the men who live in the house escape by breaking out glass and climbing out of second-story windows. Junior David Mousel tries to exit down the stairs and gets burns on over 50 percent of his body.

Authorities determine an overloaded outlet caused the fire.

Fire Chief Darrell Hartmann says working smoke alarms saved the boys’ lives.

3. Union begins its makeover

A 9.4 million dollar makeover begins on SDSU’s student union. While the renovation will add much-needed office and meeting spaces, dining and food service room, and a bigger bookstore, it also displaces all union-based offices and scatters food service across campus for the

2. Fred gets in trouble

Athletic Director Fred Oien is charged with simple assault and interfering with emergency services after an early-morning argument with his wife, Mary Oien, on January 24, 2004. Police reports say Oien pushed his wife out of bed and ripped the phone out of the wall so she couldn’t call the authorities. Oien pleads guilty to disorderly conduct and interfering with emergency services at a preliminary hearing on Monday, April 19.

Oien is sentenced to pay $300 plus court costs and receives 30 days suspended jail time on the charge of interfering with emergency services. He is also sentenced to pay $200 plus court costs and receives 30 days suspended jail time on the charge of disorderly conduct.

The jail time is suspended on the grounds that Oien will have an alcohol evaluation and undergo the resulting recommended treatment, participate in anger management classes, remain a law-abiding citizen and be monitored by court services for a year.

Oien position as athetic director, and as a key figure in SDSU’s move to Division I, is not directly affected.

1. SDSU athletics moves up a notch

SDSU confirms plans to move to Division I and announces a charter membership the the newly-formed Great West Conference.

New Jackrabbit rivals are scattered across the country, including California, North Dakota, Colorado and Utah. The Division I-AA conference only includes football, so while the fate of other sports remain in limbo, the football team will have the possiblity of being able to win a conference title.