Fun, I actually don't want to emulate anyone in their entirety (maybe not even look to any as a model at all). And I don't care if anyone else emulates us or not. We have a unique set of circumstances that almost dictates creating a strategy of our own. Perhaps even a strategy that no others can use as a model.
The politics of this state eliminates us from emulating anyone. And we can argue infinitum about who we may wish to be more like. In every case, however, I could identify major reasons why we'll never ever be like any target institution anyone ever references.
You made a statement that all of us think we want to be like "L-state". That is absolutely incorrect. It can't happen. And it won't happen. And I'm not concerned about it.
Insofar as a philosophical characterization of a target identity for UL... we need to simply establish a set of goals and objectives for academics... and for athletics. We need to work, independently on those two sets of goals and objectives. Both should be substantial. It really is pretty simple to me. Those two entities are in no way competing. Great academics cannot be overshadowed by great athletics... or vice versa.
I'm tired of UL academia thinking that the only truly gifted intellectuals are awkward and ugly. They are only exposing a primative emotion that lessens them... jealousy. We will fertilize both the body and the mind. And when one comes into competition with the other... emotionally... as they have in the past... we will address the emotion... not the claim.