CSU skips Denver PR event after athletics official beefs with bar owner

Aug 17, 2022, 2:51 PM | Updated: 4:23 pm
Jay Norvell...
Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado State Football is bailing on an event they’ve participated in the past few years, and it may be due to a Twitter spat between an athletic department spokesperson and a bar owner.

The third annual Pepsi Front Range Huddle is set for next Wednesday, Aug. 24. The event, which is organized by University of Colorado sports information director Dave Plati, sees head coaches from most of the local schools, some athletic directors and a few players meet with the Denver media.

This year’s Huddle will host the Colorado Buffaloes, Air Force Falcons, Colorado Mines Orediggers and Northern Colorado Bears at the Blake Street Tavern. Notably missing are the Colorado State Rams, who have participated before.

Colorado State sports information staffer Kyle Neaves said, “The Front Range Huddle did not align with our schedule this season, and we participated in one-on-one media visits throughout the Denver area with Coach (Jay) Norvell for an entire morning on Thursday, Aug. 11.”

However, Neaves tweeted on March 11 that CSU would not participate in the Front Range Huddle “if it is at Blake Street Tavern again.” This was in response to a tweet from Blake Street Tavern owner Chris Fuselier, who ribbed the Rams’ conference, the Mountain West, whose teams struggled in the first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Neaves followed by calling Fuselier “a clown” and then encouraged Air Force to skip the media event as well in hopes of finding “a more neutral spot.”

A CU graduate and donor, Fuselier requested an apology from CSU, but told DenverFan.com on Wednesday that he never got one. At the time of the tussle, Fuselier spoke to Westword where he voiced how offended he was and how vital Rams are to his sports bar.

“I’m disappointed they won’t come,” he said Wednesday. “All the other programs that have traditionally come are coming; it strikes me as odd that they would not come this year. It’s a great event, and all the TV stations and media in Denver will be there, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for all the other schools to talk about the upcoming season.”

Neaves said to DenverFan.com that his Twitter interaction had nothing to do with CSU pulling out of the event.

“Nope. As I said, doesn’t fit our schedule this year, and we spent an entire morning in Denver last week,” he wrote in an email.

A source familiar with the situation told DenverFan.com that Neaves informed Plati weeks ago that it didn’t fit into their month-long preseason practice schedule. The same source theorized that the Rams had planned their training camp schedule specifically with the intent of dodging the Front Range Huddle.

“Plati does a phenomenal job of bringing in all the schools and spends countless hours putting together an incredible event,” Fuselier said. “It’s disappointing not only for the media but that the coaches won’t get to interact with each other.”

The first-year head coach, Norvell, appeared on Fox 31, 9News, CBS4, Denver Channel 7 and DNVR. He also met with staff from The Denver Post and was scheduled to appear on 104.3 The Fan before a conflict arose.

“Anytime we can talk about the program and let people know what we’re trying to do, it’s important,” Norvell said in a media release at the time. “Being able to get to Denver, which is such a large media outlet, we want people to be talking about CSU Football and knowing what we’re working on up here. We’ll be a team that will be fun to watch this year.”

Apparently, the Front Range Huddle, which features many of the same outlets, but plenty more, was not important enough for Norvell to get people talking about his program or how fun they’ll be to watch this year.

Maybe it truly is a scheduling conflict, or perhaps a CSU spokesperson is still salty about a social media post from months ago, and is limiting the school from connecting to their thousands of alumni that live in the Mile High City.



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CSU skips Denver PR event after athletics official beefs with bar owner