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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Athletics have value

Published: February 13, 2009
Section: Sports

With the current environment of budget cuts and revenue losses, it seems that everyone is focusing on the Rose Art Museum and other parts of the university that have recently met the hatchet. Another story that is perhaps not in the limelight as much as these other programs is the severe cuts that the athletics department has been forced to make due to the university’s budget deficit. Unfortunately, due to a lack of revenue, the Varsity golf team has been suspended until further notice and it seems that the Swimming and Diving squads are also seeing their last seasons. I totally understand that the university needs to cut these programs, and sympathize with the administrators who were forced to make these tough decisions. What I do not approve of are certain reactions by community members that write off these cuts as not as important as other areas of the university that have also been terminated.

Some, for instance, have said that these athletic teams are not essential to the academic mission of the university and are therefore not upset at seeing these programs go. I’d like to attack this sentiment in a number of ways. For one, the University Athletic Association (UAA) is at its heart an academic association that links together some of the finest educational institutions in the country. Seeing scholars from numerous institutions out of the classroom and united in athletics is truly rewarding as it connects a wide-ranging and diverse network of students. Furthermore, the skill honed in athletic achievement is clearly transferable to academics. The ability to focus, process, and even the capacity to act under pressure are all vital skills in the academy as they are on the playing field.

Another thing that people have said is that the Rose Art Museum and other programs are more representative of the university than the squads that have been cut. While this statement is of uncertain validity, let me tell you that our athletics teams do a great job of representing the university. Whenever they wear a uniform, whenever they score a win for the school, Brandeis’ reputation is strengthened. Furthermore, extremely diverse and great students decide to attend Brandeis in order to participate in the athletics program, and this has a positive effect on the overall experiences of the student body. Finally, I also want to say that our scholar-athletes execute a number of wonderful programs that benefit the community. The Student Athlete Advisory Council, for instance, helps to advertise Relay for Life Kid’s in Sports Day and a number of other programs, which help charities and reflect well on our school. Cutting these teams ensures that we lose such vital representation and detracts from the ability of athletes to contribute to greater causes.

I have heard that there are efforts to ensure that these athletics team are not cut in the years to come. The golf team, if my information is correct, has already begun an initiative to raise the money necessary to continue the program and this would be wonderful indeed. I simply hope that through this article, I am able to show the negative consequences that would ensue if these squads are in fact cut. I understand if the university needs to suspend these programs, but I encourage everyone to help keep these wonderful athletics teams alive and competing.