Within the last few years, sports-specifically football-have become a big deal at the University of Houston. The team scored a successful victory at the Peach Bowl last year, and it managed to start this season off with a much celebrated victory against OU this past weekend. Although I am not particularly invested in the UH football team, even I can see the positive changes it has brought to the campus: more alumni are visiting, more red in the crowds, bigger crowds at games. All of these are great for student morale, and hopefully lead to a stronger sense of unity among the student population.
Unfortunately, I can’t help but wonder: is this really worth it? It’s no secret that college athletics are expensive. Universities all over the country are pouring funds into their athletics programs; and unfortunately, most of them are unable to yield a profit. Many of these universities argue that sports can lead to greater national exposure that will lead to higher number of applications; however, one has to wonder how much this exposure actually benefits the university. Smaller universities will certainly benefit from nationwide exposure; but what about larger ones? Will there not be a point where exposure will do little to help the school’s reputation?With these questions in mind, I rethink my attitude towards the athletic program here at University of Houston.
UH sits in a precarious place in this game of risk and reward. The university has funneled a huge amount of money into the football program; something that we as students should be well aware of considering we shoulder part of the costs. However, despite the boost in our tuition, our campus still lacks several basic comforts: parking is still atrocious, buildings reek of mildew, and the computer lab at the library is almost always packed.
In the beginning of this post, I stated that I could see the benefits of the athletics department here at UH; I still stand by this statement. However, I hope that UH does not fall into the trap that has trapped so many universities before it and that the school eventually finds a way to alleviate some of the more apparent grievances that plague students on campus.