While attending college, there are many different experiences that can go down as being memorable. Among those things is showing school spirit, cheering on your school’s athletic programs and attending sporting events.
College athletics, whether you’re an athlete or not, is one of the most important and exciting things that colleges and universities have to offer. College sports attract prospective students, bring money to the university and spark school pride, especially when a major athletic program is making a run toward a conference or national championship.
College athletics give hope to those who didn’t think that they had much of a chance to attend college, and athletic scholarships allow those types of students to earn a secondary education while being rewarded with the opportunity to play a sport that they love. A lot of college athletes, especially at larger athletic programs, are recruited from areas in the country that are notably troubled. It gives these students the opportunity to escape these surroundings, earn a valuable education and even prepare them to continue playing their sport at a professional level whenever they decided their collegiate career should come to an end. Simply put, it’s the perfect outlet that gives hope to people who didn’t think that they had much going for them beyond high school. Instead, they get to represent a college or university and have the opportunity to earn a degree.
College athletics are also one of the largest money-makers for universities. According to a report from USA Today, Texas A&M earns $192,608,876 in a single year from college athletics. Further south in Austin, Texas, the University of Texas earns $183,521,028 in yearly revenue, followed by Ohio State in third place with $167,166,065.
Obviously, Slippery Rock University doesn’t make nearly the same amount of money as the premier Division I athletic programs, but SRU athletics does create a sense of school pride that is felt by those who attend the athletic events.
At football and basketball games, fans who regularly attend take pride in banter along with SRU cheerleaders as they perform the famous “R-O-C-K” chant in between offensive drives or during timeouts. If one were to attend a Rock football game, they’d take note of the stadium name: Mihalik-Thompson Stadium. Current students and alumni take note of that name, because it’s named after two former Rock football coaches; N. Kerr Thompson and George Mihalik. Mihalik left the program after the 2015 season, having led his squad to three consecutive Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championships in his final three seasons as head coach.
No matter which way you look at it, it’s obvious that college athletics play a major role in society and elevate school pride among its faculty and students. It’s extremely vital for both its spectators and the administrators who organize it, and it will continue to thrive as long we support our local programs and our alma maters.