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Death, Taxes, and the Jackrabbits from ‘San Diego State’

NDSU vs SDSU Men's Summit League Championship
(Photo by Dave Eggen/Inertia Media)

Sometimes living in South Dakota means keeping a stiff upper lip while the rest of the country ignores you.

After all, we live in a ‘fly over state’.

Weather forecasters dismissively wave their hands over our part of the map as they lump us in with our neighbors to the North and reduce us to ‘the Dakotas’.

And how many times has Sioux Falls been called Sioux City?

The slights happen so often you almost come to expect them.

So when South Dakota State grabbed an automatic qualifying spot for the NCAA Men’s Tournament this week with a Summit League Tournament Championship win over North Dakota State, you knew it was only a matter of time before we’d be slighted again.

It didn’t take long.

Within hours of the final buzzer at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, Scott Van Pelt of ESPN referred to the Summit League champs as the ‘San Diego State Jackrabbits’, although, to his credit, he did later apologize.

(click on the image to see the mea culpa)

Scott Van Pelt
via ESPN

I get it – it’s confusing. South Dakota State, San Diego State, SD State, SDSU…

Just to clarify, South Dakota State actually pre-dates San Diego State by 16 years. Dakota Agriculture College was founded February 21, 1881, and changed names over years to South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, and finally, in 1964, South Dakota State University.

San Diego State began as San Diego Normal School, March 13, 1897. Over the years it was known as San Diego State Teachers College, San Diego State College, and in 1974, San Diego State University.

The California school has nearly three times the number of students and has been a Division I institution for decades; South Dakota Sate has been D1 for dozen years.

Imagine the headaches when the two SDSU basketball squads actually stepped on the same floor. It’s happened twice, with a pair of Jackrabbit losses to the Aztecs in 2005 and 2006. Aspirin sales were no doubt at an all-time high after those two games.

With tipoff of the NCAA Tournament still a week away, there’s plenty of time left for media outlets from all over the nation to confuse us Upper Mid-Westerners with the folks in the Golden State.

At least we still have Mount Rushmore. Or is that in Wyoming? I forget…

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