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Ursinus Column Slams School's Sports Culture

Says "Ursinus is a school for the jocks, by the jocks."

A student editorial in the Ursinus Grizzly, "Varsity Teams and Athletes Overvalued at Ursinus," has students buzzing about the athletic culture at the college.

The opinion piece, written by Ursinus student John Parry, quotes Ursinus President Bobby Fong's 2011 letter, stating that Ursinus athletes are "students first."

Parry takes several issues with Fong's statement -  the 34 percent of student athletes are far over-represented in The Grizzly and the school's yearbook; photos of the football team are "perennial fixtures" on the front page of the school's website;  and on Twitter, Ursinus Athletics have almost as many followers as the college does.

In the opinion of Parry, this culture is doing a disservice - to the student athletes.

Citing leaving class early, praising mediocre academics and not planning out their next steps after athletics, Parry "feels bad" for student athletes on some levels.

Parry's solution to the problem? Eliminate varsity athletics in favor of intramural sports.

On the same day, on the same website, Ursinus student athlete Marcus Foster published his own opinion column, pondering the lack of support for student athletics - "Ursinus Sports Teams Need More Support."

Foster cited semi-filled stadiums and near-empty student sections, limited passion for sports from students, a lack of appreciation for "one of the best field hockey teams in the country" as issues within the college.

"I still do not think it’s asking too much for a student to take a few hours  out of his or her weekend to support one of the various athletic teams," Foster said, after stating his understanding of time constraints for students.

While these students have very divergent views on student athletics, Ursinus was ranked in the No. 87 out of all Division III schools in the National Collegiate Scouting Association's yearly Power Rankings, which helps student-athletes to evaluate schools based on both athletics and academics.

“The Power Rankings are an objective tool to empower student athletes to find the right fit in a college or university, not only for its athletics, but academics as well," COO and NCSA Athletic Recruiting President Lisa Strasman said in a press release. 

"Our hope is to educate these student athletes and their parents on the importance of evaluating schools that will provide the education for an enriched, successful career after college, in addition to athletic success,” Strasman said.

See also:

     Ursinus Students Unite in Differences Blog

Concerned Student October 26, 2012 at 03:25 AM
I would just say that the argument made by Mr. Parry is shared by a vast minority of students at Ursinus. His opinion was not based in the reality of the campus culture and in no way reflects the attitude of the campus community. Ursinus is a Division 3 school in athletics, meaning no scholarships are given. To imply that student athlete's have it easier than non-athletes is offensive and blatantly not true. Mr. Parry's argument is weak, poorly crafted, and not in touch with the rest of the student body.Our college is filled with athletes who will lead and shape the future, off the field. To suggest otherwise is truly ignorant.
Karen Levandoski October 26, 2012 at 05:51 AM
I can agree with some of the sentiments shared by "Mr. Parry." It is true that athletic groups receive a lot more attention on campus than some other student clubs or activities, which can be frustrating for non-athletes who feel that their organizations deserve equal attention. It should also be noted that this article came on the heels of another published by the Grizzly not too long ago, which argued that student athletes are "undervalued" by the campus. To view one without the other is foolish. I'd also like to point out that John's now receiving death threats, which is ridiculous, and people need to relax on the whole. I doubt sports are going to receive less funding from the college or anything more serious because *gasp* of a single student's editorial. He's a nice guy and he's entitled to his opinion, and the enraged responses from the student body and others are kind of hilarious.
Karen Levandoski October 26, 2012 at 06:05 AM
I also recognize that student athletes work hard to balance their time, and I was friends with a lot of athletes who were very dedicated to their majors as well. John probably could've worded things in a less condescending way, and that would've been appreciated.

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