With Stanford drawing a #10 seed and a matchup against New Mexico in the South regional of the 2014 Men’s NCAA Tournament, the Cardinal have broken a six-year tournament drought that began when the Flipside arrived on The Farm following the end of the 2008 season.
Stanford was in the midst of an impressive streak, having reeled off 13 NCAA tournament appearances in a 14-year stretch from 1995-2008, but had failed to qualify for the “Big Dance” since losing to Texas in the 2008 Sweet Sixteen. Many observers have commented that it comes as no coincidence that this basketball dry spell coincided with the new humor publication’s presence on campus.
“I had to issue an ultimatum at the beginning of this season,” Stanford Athletic Director Bernard Muir recalls. “Either we make it to the NCAAs this year, or the Flipside is out. Simple as that.”
During the Flipside’s tenure, Stanford basketball has never finished higher than sixth in the Pac-10/Pac-12, their only hardware is a 2012 NIT Championship trophy, and they have produced just one NBA draft pick. That stands in stark juxtaposition to the recent success of the football program which, subject to the same recruiting difficulties as basketball, can boast a 59-20 record, four BCS bowl appearances, three Heisman Trophy finalists, and a #1 overall NFL Draft pick since the Flipside entered circulation.
“It has been depressing to watch student interest in basketball fade over the last few seasons,” a team spokesman admitted. “Hopefully this season’s success in a sign of things to come, and the Flipside will no longer be a barrier to achieving our goals on the court.”
When pressed for comment, Head Coach Johnny Dawkins was unable to conceal his frustration, “No one understands this problem better than me. I had the great misfortune of being hired by Stanford after the 2008 season, exactly the same year the Flipside was founded. It’s been devastating to coach a program that has failed to meet the expectations of Stanford basketball fans for six straight years. If only there is something that could be done…”