November 5, 2013

The University of Louisville prioritizes athletics over academics

Photo by Austin Lassell

By Andrew Ogg–

 

Something that I have found increasingly annoying is the University of Louisville’s prioritization of sports and academics. For those who share this observable stance, I am sure you have noticed the elevating infatuation with our sports programs; for those other people, you either have not noticed or do not care, and this is a concern of mine.

 

As I am writing this, our brand new recreation center debuted its opening to the public two days ago. The cost was roughly $37 million.

 

At first glance, a new recreation center does not sound all that bad; in fact, it sounds like a great addition to our campus. But if you take into consideration the diminishing attention that is spent on our university’s academia, the $37 million come off as a colossal waste.

 

For starters, many of our faculty members across all schools and disciplines have been forced into retirement, and the slots are being left unfilled, resulting in overworked up-and-coming professors.  All the while we are entertaining the idea of cutting courses out of curriculums that we currently offer.

 

As we watch the numbers of faculty members in academics and the variety in offered courses depreciate, we also see record high numbers of students being admitted into our school.

 

To put this into perspective, we raise tuition rates, we slash the academic faculty –without replacing those we lose; then we admit many more students than we had the previous year, but without proportionally increased classroom space, on-campus housing, parking space, or physical bodies to teach the students. But rest assured, we have a top notch recreation center.

 

“But wait, Andrew,” some might say, “our sports programs are what bring attention and revenue to the university.”

 

Please do not think I am ignorant of the fact that sports can be a lucrative asset to academic institutions. But in the case of the University of Louisville, I do not buy it.

 

In late January of this year, our beloved Yum! Center was recorded as losing several millions of dollars every month, and at the same time in debt a sobering $800 million. If I am the only one feeling nauseous at this irresponsible and backwards investment, I will help myself to the restroom.

 

I fear for the future of our academia because our university is clearly putting sports first and scholastic quality second. We may not explicitly say it, but we are implicitly spending as such. We call our athletes “student-athletes,” but we ourselves are behaving as “athlete emphatic-students.” I find the idolatry strenuous.

 

Our sporting investments are proving the complete opposite of lucrative. An imbecile with elementary knowledge of analysis can figure this out with just a glance at decreasing numbers, such as the case of our Yum! Center. And yet we still stuff the monetary black hole with green; no afterthought or any thought to it.

 

If we do not stop for a moment and reprioritize what we find important and deserving of our spending as a university, we face a diluted educational system that advocates material over mind, and quick-twitch muscle fiber over quick wits.

 

Photo by Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal

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