ESPN host Keith Olbermann blasted New Mexico State University President Garrey Carruthers on his show as the “worst person in the sports world” for offering prizes to students for attending NMSU football games and staying for the whole thing, El Paso/Las Cruces television station KVIA ABC-7 reported.
Students could win VIP parking passes for any lot on campus, $250 in cash or even up to $2,000 in cash for attending and staying through the whole game, KVIA said.
“In NCAA college football you can pay the coaches, you can pay the ADs, you can pay the announcers, yet you can’t pay the players, but now you can pay the fans too!” an outraged Olbermann told his ESPN audience. “New Mexico State University’s Garrey ‘We-will-bribe-you-to-sit-through-this-garbage’ Carruthers. Today’s worst person in the sports world.”
In order to win prizes, students must be registered for at least one credit this semester, ABC-7 reported. The winner has to be in the stadium when the prizes are announced just before the fourth quarter.
The NMSU athletics department told KVIA that this year’s first two home games averaged more than 17,000 people.
NMSU football coach Doug Martin told ABC-7 he thinks the prize offering is a great idea.
“I think the promotion is a great idea,” Martin said in a statement. “Schools all around the country do their own types of contests in basketball, whether it’s a half-court shot for money or tuition or even a car. These are the types of things that get students involved and we have just moved that thought process over to a football game. I think it is a great idea.”
The segment of the daily show “Olbermann,” begun last month, features athletes, owners, umpires and now university presidents against whom Olbermann rails for a minute or two, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News.
The segment resembles Olbermann’s old MSNBC show “Countdown,” where he criticized politicians and other public figures, the Sun-News said.
Olbermann left MSNBC in 2011, later taking up a job with Al Gore’s old network Current, which fired him in March 2012, the paper reported. Olbermann sued for breach of contract, and the $50 million lawsuit was settled out of court, according to The Associated Press.
Olbermann began the ESPN2 show Aug. 26, the Sun-News said.