If College Football Was History

Over the weekend I wrote some more of my dissertation on why and how the US-Dakota Wars have been remembered on the northern Great Plains. But things beyond my dissertation also happened at North Dakota State University, including the announcement from football head coach Craig Bohl that he just took a job with the University of Wyoming. You can read one of the stories in The Fargo Forum here.

Since I’m a practitioner and fan of the arts and humanities, I thought it would be fun to modify and render the story. If you swap out the word “coach” with “professor,” the word “football” with the word “history department,” and “Craig Bohl” with an NDSU professor of history, it reads like a pretty tense story coming out of the liberal arts in the American West.

Since Bohl is moving to the University of Wyoming, and since NDSU’s Mark Harvey received his PhD history training at the University of Wyoming, it seemed appropriate to use Mark’s name in the rendered, fictional story below. You can find one of Mark’s excellent works of historical scholarship here.

One version of the modified, fictional story would read as follows:

The Mark Harvey history professorial era at North Dakota State ended abruptly, if not shockingly. The 11th-year history professor will be introduced today as the next head professor of history at the University of Wyoming.

NDSU students through social media on Saturday night were stunned and surprised that CBS reported Harvey is taking the head professor of history position with the University of Wyoming. At the heart of the matter: Who will profess history at NDSU?

Harvey and the history department chair did not return text messages Saturday night.

Bruce Feldman, senior college history analyst from CBS, first broke the story that Harvey will be introduced tonight as the next head historian of the University of Wyoming. NDSU called a 9 a.m. departmental history meeting for today, which is unusual.

Wyoming has called a news conference for 6 p.m. (CDT) today to announce a new professor of history.

It left everybody surprised, including the students after Harvey dominated the Western Historical Association‘s conference with a lecture from Gate City Bank Auditorium. Harvey convinced people not even interested in history that it was in fact important.

On their Twitter accounts, PhD Student of History Troy Reisenauer wrote, “Tell me this isn’t true.”

Said PhD student of History Derek Ystebo: “Please say this is a joke.” Later, Ystebo tweeted he was happy for Mark Harvey and “sad it had to get leaked like this.”

Graduate Student Chad Halvorson tweeted, “this is a little weird.”

Harvey, as has been his customary response, did not comment about the speculation after the lecture. 

It would be a considerable bump in pay for Harvey to at least $1.2 million per year if not more. The previous professor of history made $1.2 million and reports from Laramie media indicate the next professor of history would be paid higher, perhaps as high as $1.5 million…


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