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.
Ursinus Students Unite in Differences Blog