Last February, an event touted as "Superhero Night" took place in conjunction with a men’s basketball game in which UVSC students were encouraged to attend the game dressed as their favorite superheroes. According to members of the College Times’s sports staff who were in attendance covering the game, by far the most popular superhero among UVSC students was the invisible wolverine.
Then just last week, representatives from the NCAA were on campus rubbing elbows with all the big mucketty-mucks from UVSC athletics.
In conjunction with the arrival of these distinguished guests was a conveniently timed pep rally held on the morning of Nov. 5, in the cafeteria.
Given the well-known fact that UVSC athletic events get very little attention from the student body, it seems a bit strange that the school is going to all the trouble of applying for membership in the NCAA. All the hoopla, all the hype and all the money spent marketing a product students are not buying.
So who is it really for?
It is true that sports are popular in the Utah Valley community. And the wholesome Utah culture fosters a very deep local talent pool.
It is also true that athletic programs provide terrific scholarship opportunities to student athletes, who might not be able to afford college without scholarship. And strong athletic programs do tend to cultivate a sense of shared identity throughout a campus community.
However, the primary goal of team sports is to win. Likewise, the objective of athletic programs is to win, to be the best within the respective region … to be successful.
But here at UVSC, the administration, the student body and the community itself do not appear to possess the fortitude to lay claim to top status. Here it seems we have reserved for ourselves unconditional second-place ranking in the hearts and minds of the public.
An obvious example of this can be seen in the high number of BYU T-shirts circulating around campus. They are so prominent it makes one wonder if they are being handed out for free in institute classes. It is unlikely that the reciprocal situation, BYU students sporting UVSC t-shirts, would be seen on BYU campus.
The situation this all points to is that within the Utah Valley community, the sports identity is already spoken for and Utah Valley is not big enough or diverse enough to support two Division I athletic schools.
Therefore, attempts to mold our identity into that of a sports school is to impose upon us an identity that is not our own. And to do that would make us poseurs.
Like it or not, it is events such as The Vagina Monologues and the Banff Mountain Film festival that sell out each year at UVSC, while our sports teams continue to be ignored by all except sports journalists and the most die-hard fans.
And yet, the administration continues trying to sell us the idea of being a second-place, second-rate, second-class, poseur sports school. Newsflash: We are not buying it.
Before we move forward with NCAA membership students, should be made aware of all it entails. We need to know if there are membership dues involved. And if so, how much do they cost? How much of that money would come from student fees? And once those and any other questions have been answered, we need to be given time to consider whether or not athletics are the best thing for us or if school resources would be better spent on other programs.
Because current attitudes indicate that if we want the NCAA, we can go visit it … in Provo.