As I walked into the University of Florida’s preseason football Media Day recently, the first question I got from one of my fellow reporters was, “Wow, what about that UCF football babe?”
When I was a call-in guest on a radio show in Alabama earlier this week, our discussion of SEC football was interrupted by one of the hosts asking if I had seen the pictures of “the girl from UCF.”
Then there’s the headline on ESPN’s website: “Playmate Shanna McLaughlin still has UCF spirit.”
And the headline on the Chicago Sun-Times website: “Shanna McLaughlin’s racy photo shoot makes us ready for some football.”
And the hundreds of other headlines across the nation and around the world.
“People are talking about UCF on a national and even an international stage,” McLaughlin said in a telephone conversation the other day. “Maybe that’s a good thing and not a bad thing.”
Come to think of it, maybe she’s right. In hindsight, perhaps the University of Central Florida should embrace Shanna instead of being embarrassed by her. Believe it or not, she actually has people talking about UCF football — and it’s not necessarily in a negative way.
“I would be a UCF fan just because of her!!!” wrote one hyped-up supporter on the new Shanna McLaughlin fan page on Facebook.