Earlier this week, ESPNU broadcasted the Summit League women’s basketball title game between Oakland University and South Dakota State.  The game took place in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and the announcers were Anne Marie Anderson on play by play and Ros Gold-Onwude on color commentary.  Anderson has done a variety of sports for a variety of networks, whereas Gold-Onwude played for the Stanford Cardinal and just finished her career, graduating last year.

I’m pretty sure Stanford is an elite school, so how a recent graduate of the school loses track of which team is playing in the game she is broadcasting is beyond me, but this is one of the more embarrassing botches I’ve seen from a professional, semi-pro, or even a volunteer announcer.  Evidently, the initials SDSU threw off Gold-Onwude because she REPEATEDLY referred to South Dakota State as San Diego State throughout the first half.  I saw the tweet directed to us and the article from the Argus Leader and thought it couldn’t be real – it was!  The game is up in the archives from Tuesday March 7th, check it out for yourself.  I’ll let Terry Vandrovec from the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls take it from here

First, the on-air crew that called the women’s championship game on ESPNU repeatedly referred to the host Jackrabbits as “San Diego State.” Although both SDSUs have had solid women’s programs the past few years, the local squad wears blue and yellow, while the West Coast club is red and black.

The two-woman crew also stated that Oakland University is located in Rochester, Minn., rather than the correct location of Rochester, Mich.

Douple was inundated with calls, and multiple fed-up fans made the mistakes known when walking past the on-air talent at halftime.

“It is totally unacceptable,” Douple said. “I’m very, very disappointed. I expressed those concerns to the producer afterward and I’m going to do some more follow-up. In my opinion, I don’t think they did the right homework for that game.”

Wow.  How can that happen more than once????  As an announcer, I can’t think of anything more elemental than correctly identifying the teams playing in your broadcast.  After watching the game, it looked like the broadcasters were fairly well prepared and had good information about the players… they just didn’t know what school was actually playing in the game!  Seriously, I would think it wouldn’t be that hard to keep in mind that SDSU meant South Dakota State when the game is being played in South Dakota!!  How did San Diego State even cross Gold-Onwude’s mind multiple times?  Not to be outdone, when a graphic appeared on screen showing Oakland’s location in Rochester, MI… Anderson read the MI as Minnesota and not Michigan.  D’Oh!

In the second half, Gold-Onwude thankfully stopped with the San Diego State references, but began using “South Dakota” to describe the Jackrabbits.  Again, incorrect.  South Dakota State is equally NOT “South Dakota” as it is NOT “San Diego State.”  Unlike the awkward student newscast earlier this week, these are professionals working for ESPNU and it should be an embarrassment for the leader to have announcers that can’t correctly identify which team is playing right in front of them.  

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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