Southwestern Football Program Will Boost Pirate Pride vs. Problems Overshadow Benefits

Pride
All it takes is a 20-minute drive down I-35 to arrive at one of the most iconic football grounds in the state of Texas, Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium. There play the Longhorns: padded behemoths whose performance week in and week out has a palpable effect on the student body and an extensive alumni network.

The Longhorns rally both the student body and the alumni, as well as countless other interested parties, not around the football program itself but the university as a whole. Recently, Southwestern began the long and arduous process of creating its own rally point, the Pirates football team, a move that in the long run will have similar positive effects.

Although the university already has a strong, respectable athletic program that provides the student athletes themselves with an opportunity to grow on and off the field, it has failed to rally the general student body around it.

Football has the potential to be the center around which alumni and students gather, not just to cheer on the football team but to celebrate their pride in the university. It will foster a more unified and larger alumni network more eager to support and donate to the school because they maintain their feeling of connection to it. Football could also help increase publicity and name recognition for the university.

Even so, at a time when the university has decided to cut library costs and cannot keep professors’ salaries in line with inflation, some argue that a football team may seem imprudent.

While the positive effects may not be felt immediately and the university may lose money in the short term, as long as the program is well run over time, revenue will begin to catch up with and eventually exceed expenses. In 15 or 20 years from now, when the program has had time to establish itself, alums will be able to return and take pride in what Southwestern accomplished, knowing that they were there at the beginning.

Opponents of the move also express concerns about the effect that the presence of football players themselves will have on the university. At a small school, the effect of 100 new people on the composition of the student body will not be as diluted as at other schools, so this is a serious consideration. This where the university must remember that it has a responsibility to admit student-athletes that are likely to be productive members of our community, as they have been doing up to this point.

Currently, the GPA of student-athletes is comparable to those of non-athletes at Southwestern. The university is aware that it must not be so consumed by success on the football field as to compromise its admission standards and has promised to maintain admissions quality.

As long as the program is developed in a responsible and prudent manner, the football program will have a profoundly positive effect on all alumni, present and future.

Undercuts

The recent decision by the Board of Trustees to add both football and women’s lacrosse as varsity sports has created considerable controversy in the student populace. Notably, students and faculty were left in the dark until the final decision was suddenly sprung upon them. If these new changes will make the school so much better off, students and faculty should have been consulted in the process.

Similar discussions occurred at Berry College of northwest Georgia, where a similar football installment plan has recently been approved.

A small student protest took place, and it seemed most students against the plan didn’t have a problem so much with football as with installing football on their college campus. They held serious doubts about the ability for the football team to actually generate revenue, andwhether their own campus culture would be negatively impacted.

Berry College resembles Southwestern in its small enrollment size, liberal arts focus, and its status as a Division III school.

At Southwestern, the reaction may very well resemble that of Berry’s, as many small colleges have been making changes in the past few years. Financial concerns present great importance, and the concern that the initial gift money provided by the recent agreement doesn’tcover the full $10-11 million in total costs presents a problem.

Money will be coming in slowly, and debts will continue to pile up as the university takes on this additional challenge. If this risk doesn’t pay off, it would mean a much deeper hole,and wasted time and energy creating facilities that wouldn’t necessarily be utilized to their full potential.

Deemed as one of the less controversial matters in this discussion, women’s lacrosse has simply been eclipsed in the concern over reinstating the football team. This lack of controversy is simply not true. The story told has seemed to suppose that moving women’s lacrosse from a clubsport to a varsity sport would act as a sort of “upgrade” or “progression”; clearly a substantial assumption.

Currently, The University of Dallas is the only other varsity women’s lacrosse team in Texas. If the current club sport were to become a varsity sport, this would equal increased transportation costs of time and money for the team. A women’s lacrosse student’s ability to engage in diverse and stimulating activitiesduring their time would be ever more restrained. Not to mention that the team wasn’t contacteduntil the final decision to begin with, possibly because Title IX laws all but forced women’slacrosse’s inclusion in the process.

Besides the crucial overlooked issue concerning women’s lacrosse, claims of increasedenrollment seem to add appeal to this plan of action. A predicted 120 students would help achieve the enrollment goal of 1,500, but it fails to take into account the numbers of students who would have specifically chosen the university for other reasons.

The decision wouldn’t so much depend on students who specifically didn’t want a football team, so much as the other activities and opportunities that are promoted in the space of football.

Focusing on special weekends also seems inviting, but student-run organizations and activities make events like Homecoming an already inviting opportunity for alumni. In this way,student leadership and teamwork works to present different unique opportunities for the day orweekend, as opposed to a singular event that would drive the show.

A better plan would be to consider the debts currently owed, and how to close the gap. Qualitative improvements in student recruitment would work wonders, such as the improvementof student involvement in visit day programs.Academic quality must also be maintained, as must the inviting campus culture and gender balance.

Another balance may also be interrupted with the new plan, as seen in a potentialincrease of the new football students going into certain departments and programs such asbusiness. This would create another type of balance problem, which must be acknowledged.Gender balance, especially on our campus, remains an important issue to be dealt with.Throwing the women’s lacrosse team under the bus just doesn’t seem like the way to do it.

1 on 1: Trainer Glen Schwab

Trainer, Glen Schwab.  Courtesy of Southwestern.edu

Trainer, Glen Schwab. Courtesy of Southwestern.edu

Ever dream of turning your hobby into your lifelong career? Southwestern University Head Athletic Trainer Glen Schwab did just that. Now in his ninth year at Southwestern University, he plans to stay for the long run.

“I wanted to be an athlete when I was in high school,” Schwab said of his early years.

“I love football. I grew up in Illinois, and football was not as big in Illinois as it is in Texas. To be quite honest with you, I was that skinny little kid whose Mom said he could not play football,” he said laughing.

Not to be discouraged, he continued to pursue his passion – just in a safer way.


“I volunteered as a manager of the football team,” he explained. “And the coaches were like Glenn, you could do so much more for us, why don’t you go and become a trainer? We didn’t have a certified trainer. We didn’t have that back in the 80’s – no one had them. I thought it sounded interesting and said I’d do it.”


Being a trainer for the football team at his high school became a dedicated hobby, but he soon dropped it in pursuit of a college education.


“I wanted to be an architect. I went off to college thinking that’s what I wanted to do. I realized in my first year of college that I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk for the rest of my life. I wanted to be outside. I like to work with my hands, I like to interact with people. As soon as I realized that I needed to make a change, I transferred to East Illinois University where they had a degree plan in athletic training. That became my life.”


When asked about his favorite part about working at Southwestern University, he had an expansive list of positives for SU.


“I love working with the student body here,” Schwab said. “Here, we’re not just a have-fun athletic program. We’re competitive and we desire to win, but to have fun doing it still. Interacting with the students is the most rewarding part of my job. Secondly, I love this athletic department. The way Dr. Munt, the Athletic Director – the way she handles the way we do things, and the way the coaches interact with my staff. They’re very supportive of what we’re doing.”

“[The difference between Division 1 and Division 3] athletes is the whole focus on why they’re there,” Schwab continued.


“Division 1 has it in their mentality that they’re there as an athlete first and then secondly they’re going to school. And to be quite honest, most of them are very arrogant and very self-centered, and all they’re worried about is their future careers.”


“Division 3 athletes have a different focus,” Schwab added.


“They realize they’re here first as a student. Believe it or not, they still love the game they’re playing. It’s not uncommon at Division 1 that they really don’t love it any more. It’s become a job. And all they’re looking at is to make money off it in the future.”


Now that he and his wife have settled in Georgetown, neither of them plan on moving any time soon.


“I would love to stay at Southwestern forever. I would love to retire here. That’s my goal.”

Why I Wanted Favre to Go to the Super Bowl


Brett Favre, when he played for the Packers.  Courtesy of Google Images.

Brett Favre, when he played for the Packers. Courtesy of Google Images.

Most of us don’t need any introduction to who Brett is but very few know the important details about his life, which make his performance on Sunday even more impressive than it was. So seeing that this is the case, I think I will put this all in perspective: Brett Favre was born in 1969. That’s right, the 1960s.


The Super Bowl was only two years old when he was born, the Beatles were still making music, mankind had just landed on the Moon, and Richard Nixon was President. Brett Favre entered the NFL in 1991 and soon after made an indelible impression on the league. Folks, do you know how long ago that was? Nineteen years to be exact. If you’re a college student, Brett is old enough to be your father!


Something about that notion disturbs me. The only old gray-haired man I want to see out on the football field is a referee.


Pretty soon Brett will be doing Viagra commercials and infomercials for diabetes and the AARP. And you know what, he will probably still be playing football, which is exactly what I do not want.


Sometimes you have to call it quits. That goes not only for Brett but also Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Madonna, and Paul McCartney. The bad thing, at least for his dignity, is that Brett Favre isn’t a quitter. It made him awesome during his reign, but now it just makes him look desperate. Expect Brett back for the 2010 season and his 20th in the NFL.


He should just get an honorary Super Bowl, somewhat like a lifetime achievement award. It’s pretty obvious he just wants one more ring so he can have two total – one on each finger so he can effectively beat up anybody who cuts him in the cafeteria line in the nursing home.


We all know that won’t happen though.


I, like many other people including every Green Bay Packer fan, wish he had beaten the Vikings, played the Colts in the Super Bowl, got himself a win, and just left the game gracefully.


But since none of this turned out like it should have, the only thing left for Brett is an intervention (besides getting wasted on Bourbon Street). We should get him in a room with his wife, a psychiatrist and possibly a reality TV show crew to coax him out of destroying his last remaining brain cells. He already holds every record for a quarterback, including the most retirements.


What more does he want? Now he is just going to go on making a fool of himself on national television, kind of like Andy Rooney.