Volume 90, Issue 93

Thursday, March 20, 1997



Sporto theory smashed by student

Re: Horse Shit, March 14

To the Editor:

I was just reading your little commentary, Mr. Pugsley, in the Overtime section of The Gazette for Friday, March 14, and while I agree in principle with your comments, I think you are painting an inaccurate picture of intercollegiate athletics spending.

Football receives the most money for a number of reasons. The first, no doubt, is the influence of a winning tradition at Western. I admit, winning does require money. And, of all the varsity sports, football has one of the highest equipment maintenance costs. Quality gear doesn't come cheap.

Other sports, like soccer, basketball or volleyball don't have the same financial needs as the football team. For instance, let's say the varsity men's basketball team needs new basketballs. They use the Wilson Jet which usually runs about $100/ball in your average retail outlet, depending on where one orders from. So taking that as the standard cost, compare that to football. The helmets alone cost at least that much, if not more. Do you see where I'm coming from?

You address the concept that additional money should be spent on the other top-rated varsity teams in order to try and increase revenue and fan support, citing the fact that students no longer attend football games and it is time to try something new. Guess what? Aside from homecoming, the students don't pay to see the football games. As long as they have their student cards with them, they enter the game at no cost. So the revenue for football isn't coming from the students. The additional money given to football is likely being used to promote the games to alumni.

Alumni do pay for their tickets, somewhere in the area of about $10 a pop. The football games, since they can support more fan capacity, naturally bring in more money than the other varsity sports. Basketball and volleyball tend to play doubleheader events, allowing adults to enter for about $5/ticket and students $2/ticket. It doesn't take a math major to be able to add up the totals and see which sport will generate the most revenue per season.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that the other sports deserve their moments to shine as well (I, for one, have only missed a handful of varsity b-ball games in the last three years). I'm quite proud of the performance of the Lady Stangs at this year's CIAU b-ball tournament and they deserve far more recognition than they are getting. Ditto for the other fine varsity squads representing Western across the province and at nationals. But intercollegiate athletics has its reasons for spending money as it does and perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to criticize its decisions.

Alan Russette
Classical Studies III

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Copyright The Gazette 1997