South Dakota Corn Utilization officials announced Wednesday that the organization will serve as title sponsor of the South Dakota Showdown Series, a new, year-long collegiate athletics and academic competition between the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University. Joining South Dakota Corn President Chad Blindauer in making the announcement were USD President James Abbott, USD Director of Athletics David Sayler, SDSU President David Chicoine and SDSU Director of Athletics Justin Sell.
The South Dakota Showdown Series, presented by South Dakota Corn, will operate on a point system in which each school can earn a maximum of 24 points per year based on head-to-head competition and Summit League Championship finishes between the University of South Dakota Coyotes and the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits in a total of 17 men's and women's sports. There is an academic component as well, and the university compiling the most points by the end of the school year will earn bragging rights to the specially designed traveling trophy.
"South Dakota Corn wanted to play a part in bringing this milestone rivalry series to life," said Blindauer. "Agriculture is South Dakota's number one industry. It makes sense to team up with these academic powerhouses. We want to tell the story of how we are producing more with less and doing it in an efficient, effective and environmentally sound way. We are proud to serve as title sponsor for the South Dakota Showdown Series."
The inaugural competition is under way now, with points already beginning to accumulate for the 2012-2013 school year. The football game on Nov. 17 will be the next head-to-head athletic competition between the two schools that will impact the point system. In addition to focusing on the points earned by both schools respectively, promoting values of good sportsmanship will be strongly emphasized among USD and SDSU fans. Also, student-athletes who are South Dakota natives will be highlighted throughout the year based on their performances in academics and athletics.
Throughout the school year, fans can visit www.sdcornshowdown.com to track progress and see point totals for their favorite team. Additionally, fans will be able to access the Showdown site via the schools' official athletic sites: www.GoYotes.com or www.GoJacks.com.
Complementing the competition aspect, USD, SDSU and South Dakota Corn have designated Feeding South Dakota as the non-profit organization to benefit from the rivalry series' launch. As the state's primary hunger relief operation, Feeding South Dakota feeds thousands of people every year and provided 10.1 million meals to individuals in need in 2011. It was imperative to both schools and South Dakota Corn that Feeding South Dakota benefits, and concessionaire Aramark is ensuring that happens as fans attending Showdown Series' head-to-head athletic events are encouraged to make a monetary donation for Feeding South Dakota while making their concession purchases.
"On behalf of more than 375 student-athletes at the University of South Dakota, I am grateful to the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council for sponsoring the creation of the South Dakota Showdown Series," said Sayler. "It is exciting for all involved to participate in this academic and athletic competition, as it will highlight the great student-athletes at both institutions."
"We've had a long and storied tradition; a great history and rivalry," said Sell. "This is an opportunity to recognize that. We'll be respecting that tradition and hopefully some new ones, especially through our relationship with South Dakota Corn. Not only will the Showdown Series highlight our athletic programs, but it will showcase the priorities we place toward academics, sportsmanship and community service."
Spearheading this initiative with the schools and South Dakota Corn are Coyote Sports Properties and Jackrabbit Sports Properties, the multimedia rights holders for USD Athletics and SDSU Athletics, respectively. Both are properties of Learfield Sports, which manages multimedia rights for more than 50 collegiate institutions and associations and celebrates a 40-year history this month. Other Learfield Sports' schools hosting rivalry series include Oklahoma/Oklahoma State (Bedlam Series) and Iowa/Iowa State (Cy-Hawk Series).
For additional information on Learfield Sports (www.learfieldsports.com); South Dakota Corn Utilization Council (www.sdcorn.org); Feeding South Dakota (www.feedingsouthdakota.org); or Aramark (www.aramark.com) visit these respective corporate sites.
Courtesy: USD Athletics, SDSU Athletics, South Dakota Corn, Learfield Sports