“Be It Resolved by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon: That we, the members of the Seventy-eighth Legislative Assembly, honor the Southern Oregon University Raiders football team for their victory at the 2014 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Football National Championship.” These were the words of House Concurrent Resolution 17 that honored the Southern Oregon Raider football team as they took the Oregon Capital building in Salem on April 21st. Representatives Peter Buckley, Sal Esquivel, Wayne Krieger, Duane Stark, and Senators Alan Bates and Jeff Kruse represented Resolution 17 as it passed into legislation that Tuesday. The Raiders were recognized by the Oregon Senate as members applauded and rose to the players and coaches who entered the Capital dressed in formal attire. Receiving Resolution 17 is the highest honor the state can bestow for the Raider football team. “It was a great experience”, said freshman receiver Chase Cole, “it’s also great that we get recognized for all of our accomplishments”.
Earlier that morning, at five-thirty AM, The Raider football team left Ashland by bus and was accompanied by other student athletes in the school’s program. The sleepy raiders also traveled with some students that represent entire whole student body as well as President Roy Saigo and three Trustees. Everyone who made the trip to the capital also got the chance to meet with various legislatures that were on board; including Governor Kate Brown, Representative Buckley, and Senator Bates. Oregon residents on the football team got to spend some time chatting with their individual representatives from the section they were raised in as the out of state residents met legislatures that represent the Rogue Valley area.
While present, the students took the opportunity to support state funding for Oregon’s public universities during some legislative meetings. This called for the Legislature to meet $755 million in state support of higher education for public universities set by the President. Students also discussed the sports lottery to fund athletic programs. The sports lottery was established by the Oregon lottery as a sports betting program. The outcome of the program is set up to fund intercollegiate athletics in seven OUS institutions including SOU.
At the end of the day, players seemed tired but excited by this opportunity of prestigious invitation. Few teams have received recognition by the state capital for their athletic accomplishments and the players and students all returned home feeling honored.