Athletic or Academic?

A disclaimer before I dive in: I think sports are fantastic. Human physicality is important, and competition is a natural drive that I’d rather see expressed on the athletic field than the field of war.

That said, Seattle University is throwing their money away trying to bolster a failing athletic program. The university has a fixed amount of money every year—money that we (students) entrust to them with the expectation that the money will be invested into the institution to generate some kind of return.

We’ve been Division I for five years now, and Seattle U Athletics continues to hemorrhage invested funds. Clearly, the department is fundamentally unable to generate revenue … they aren’t even in the ballpark of breaking even. Furthermore, I have never seen an extraordinary enthusiasm among the general student body for the Athletics program at this schoo—despite increasing efforts to purchase that enthusiasm. It simply isn’t rational to keep pouring money into a program that solely benefits a minority. College is an investment for students, and they rightfully expect to be rewarded with a degree that has some value by the time they graduate into “the real world.”

I’m not convinced that Redhawk sports are adding much to the value of my degree. The Spectator published a story last week indicating that many of Seattle U’s students, based on their chosen major, will statistically be unable to afford to live on Capitol Hill after matriculation. That’s a tremendous failure. Students must ‘learn better’ and the university must ‘ teach better.’

Sure, sports are fun. But we largely go to college to build our knowledge base and develop marketable skills—those returns aren’t most effectively generated by talented basketball teams, but by quality faculty and educational facilities.

Let’s make learning a priority because right now, I’m embarrassed by us.