Scrolling Headlines:

Experienced Ohio State club too much for UMass hockey in 3-0 loss -

October 22, 2017

Season-high 29 saves from Matt Murray proves lone highlight in UMass hockey’s 3-0 shutout loss to Ohio State -

October 22, 2017

UMass football picks up first win of the season in blowout win over Georgia Southern -

October 21, 2017

Student in critical condition after pedestrian-vehicle accident on Friday -

October 21, 2017

UMass women’s soccer fails to secure spot in A-10 tournament with loss to Saint Louis -

October 21, 2017

Struggles with special teams sinks UMass hockey -

October 21, 2017

UMass hockey drops second of the year in 3-1 loss to Ohio State -

October 20, 2017

Amazon textbook contract ending in December 2018 -

October 19, 2017

UMass field hockey heads into crucial A-10 matchup -

October 19, 2017

2017 Hockey Special Issue -

October 19, 2017

International Relations Club tackles tough issues at ‘Foreign Policy Coffee Hour’ -

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Sexual assault reports spike on campus -

October 19, 2017

Californian students react to wildfires back home -

October 19, 2017

‘My Little Pony: The Movie’ is a surprising animated treat, whether you’re a fan of the show or not -

October 19, 2017

With a young team, Carvel is preparing the UMass hockey team to thrive -

October 19, 2017

Letter: UMass hockey is great, but where are the students? -

October 19, 2017

Boino’s blast gives UMass men’s soccer sole possession of first place in the Atlantic 10 -

October 19, 2017

UMass freshmen look to play physical, make an impact and improve early on -

October 19, 2017

UMass hockey sets out to create new program, identity in 2017-18 -

October 19, 2017

Cale Makar: UMass hockey’s crown jewel -

October 19, 2017

Tackle the problems facing UMass football, don’t quit on our players

(Jessica Picard/Daily Collegian)

The struggles of the University of Massachusetts football program since entering the Football Bowl Subdivision shouldn’t be a factor in any decision regarding athletic funding. Instead, the debate should center on improving the program and confronting the legitimate issues of keeping athletes safe while moving toward cost effectiveness. These issues need to be addressed for our program to become a successful point of pride for our school. Cutting the football team wouldn’t solve the larger issues that plague the sport. Instead, UMass would waive the white flag and give up on a valuable opportunity to create a successful football program and improve the American cultural institution of football.

The results on the scoreboard should be irrelevant to any decision to fund the team. UMass shouldn’t send the message to athletes and to our community that losing should be a determinant of whether or not the school has a team. Our school’s athletes put in extraordinary effort to succeed academically while practicing in and preparing for games. They risk their physical and emotional wellbeing for our entertainment. Win or loss, I respect the effort they make each week. Our pride in UMass football can’t be so shallow as to hinge on wins or losses. Losing isn’t the issue. The problems facing football are medical and financial, and we need to confront those. Cutting the team won’t help us do that.

On the issue of concussions and other injuries, UMass could choose to cut its losses. A few dozen concussions a year would be prevented, but the outcomes for our athletes would be worse, not better. Without a program, the most talented players would transfer to other schools and face the same injury risks. Not only that, but players who transfer are required by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to sit a year on the sidelines before joining the team, which could jeopardize their athletic aspirations and would put a hurdle in the way of graduating.

UMass only ascended from FBS Division II in 2012. Five years isn’t enough time to judge the program’s ability to become a contender and attract significant benefits for the rest of the school and the community. Public schools like the University of Michigan and the University of Texas have built successful programs, but they weren’t powerhouses overnight. Those communities made significant investments and dealt with poor performance on the field for a long time. Eventually, the investment paid off and the football teams attract countless students and accolades to the schools. Programs of that nature might be decades away, but if UMass can make the leap to resemble even the University of Connecticut or the University of North Carolina on the field, the benefits of funding the football team would be more apparent.

Tailgates should also be considered. UMass students love tailgating, even if they don’t support the product on the field. Any student who shows up to party while advocating for ending football at UMass must deal with this contradiction.

Those who favor cutting the program want to benefit from the entertainment provided by the players, but they don’t want to pay for it or tackle the tough questions of injuries and the outcomes for players. UMass should fix the program, not quit just because we’re down 28-3.

William Keve is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at wkeve@umass.edu.

Comments
2 Responses to “Tackle the problems facing UMass football, don’t quit on our players”
  1. Jennie says:

    Thank you for your support – I couldn’t have said this any better and my husband has worked for the team for 17 years. It’s so easy to spout the same old tired talking points and say we should end the team, but those who do don’t understand what football is really about, both for the players and the university.

  2. SittingBull says:

    UMass should have never stepped up from Division II. There is virtually no football talent in New England and you won’t get any top tier players to come either. Go back to Division II. Football is not necessary for this school, especially with the makeup of an uninterested student body and alumni. Basketball had a moment in the sun back in the 90s, and it is a testament to an extremely charismatic coach that a program can be built from nothing. And even that era only produced one NBA player. Let’s face it, New England is good for leaf-peeping, and outdoor lifestyle and maybe some tech sector jobs. It holds no appeal to anyone that isn’t from here, especially not 18 yo athletes looking to make a mark on the athletic world. Stop throwing good money after bad. What are they trying to prove?

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