No Hard Feelings

For a moment, Southeastern had a story of a hometown kid improving his craft as a football player at the local university, eventually being drafted as the second highest player ever in school history.
But only for a moment was this story available. In my article on Robert Alford’s drafting by the Atlanta Falcons, I wrote on the premise of timing being everything. Southeastern not only had an intriguing story from a student-athlete standpoint, but one of publicity.
With the university’s recent public announcement of the investigation into its certification process and self-reporting of multiple violations to the NCAA, it seemed like Alford’s drafting could not have happened at a better time.
And while other universities opened its doors to having publicity about their student-athletes, Southeastern remained relatively silent about Alford. Yes, he has graduated and no, he is not affiliated with the university as a student anymore. But he is an alumnus, one with a high profile and generally positive attitude towards his goals in the NFL. Alford has no baggage and was an upstanding student-athlete for the Lions.
It reads like a perfect mixture, one that most larger universities wished they could drown the press with information releases. Save for some draft-day notifications, video interviews with Alford and his parents and the usual press release, the first player to be drafted since football was reinstated at Southeastern passed with a whisper.
But the university was not the only outlet to fumble this story.
Local media treated Alford’s drafting as if it happened regularly. Were they seeing something else? It is understandable if Alford had been drafted late or slipped out of the selection process altogether. But he had more than a good chance to be drafted by the second day.
Leading up to the draft, Alford was receiving a hefty amount of attention from multiple analysts and had a Senior Bowl performance and draft combine workouts that highlighted an impactful senior season at Southeastern.
For such a great story, it seems as if the attention surrounding Alford and his eventual drafting was nonexistent. The unfortunate lack of mention is all the more disheartening when Alford readily accepts his position of a successful Lion athlete, looking forward of representing Southeastern in the NFL.
What university and community can ask for more than that?


‘No Hard Feelings’ is a sports column that reflects the personal views of The Lion’s Roar newspaper’s sports writers based on first hand observations. It is meant to offer analysis of Southeastern’s athletics from the writer’s perspective.