South Dakota Corn Utilization Council 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 South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota. Joining South Dakota Corn President Chad Blindauer in making the announcement were SDSU Director of Athletics Justin Sell, SDSU President David Chicoine, USD President James Abbott and USD Director of Athletics David Sayler.
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 22 points per year based on head-to-head competition and Summit League Championship finishes between the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits and the University of South Dakota Coyotes in a total of 17 men’s and women’s athletic events. 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 SDSU and USD 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.gojacks.com or www.goyotes.com.
Complementing the competition aspect, SDSU, USD 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 Jackrabbit Sports Properties and Coyote Sports Properties, the multimedia rights holders for SDSU Athletics and USD 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).
“There has been a lot of momentum behind putting together a rivalry series exclusive to South Dakota State University and University of South Dakota ever since we began representing both athletic programs in 2010,” said Kelly Jensen, Learfield Sports’ vice president who works closely with the staff at Jackrabbit Sports Properties and Coyote Sports Properties. “We’re pleased to see South Dakota Corn Utilization Council take on a big role with the Showdown Series, and we are happy to be providing assistance to Feeding South Dakota with the help of the fans, alumni and student body for these universities.”
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. Attached are dedicated pages outlining the detailed point system for the South Dakota Showdown Series.