The Value Of Playoff Wins

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

March 10, 2009 Ed Cartoon

Welcome to the golden age of Mustangs athletics.

For the first time since the formation of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport athletics governing body, three of Western’s top revenue-generating teams have advanced to the national championship. The football team played in the Vanier Cup back in November and this month, both the men’s basketball and hockey teams will be competing for national gold.

So, what does this matter?

An issue that always comes up " particularly in comparing the sport culture south of the border " is the noticeable gap in athletics between the NCAA and CIS. It is true that in most sports the athletic quality of American schools is higher than that of our own. You can count on one hand the number of former Mustang athletes who have cracked major professional sport rosters.

While it’s personal choice whether or not you want to support a team, deciding to involve oneself in the sport culture at Western will certainly not be detrimental to a person’s university experience. Rather, choosing to embrace the sport culture can help define a person’s time at university. Having pride in one’s school, be it through athletics or academics, should be a good thing.

This year, despite one of the strongest offerings of successful Mustangs athletics across the board, attendance at regular season games for all sports " including football and hockey " was relatively low.

However, surges in attendance at home playoff games for all three sports going to nationals shows that despite poor attendance during the regular season, the Western community responds to success by offering its support.

Other than the obvious benefits such as program prestige, gate receipts and easier athletic recruitment, national exposure serves to benefit an institution in other ways as well.

Televised games present opportunities for Western to plug its campus and programs to a national audience with the hopes of increasing awareness and ideally applications.

While Western always seems to have more applicants than they have room for, the prospect of a more competitive field of students holds the potential of driving up admission averages and ultimately, the quality of a Western degree.

While national athletic success may not be sufficient in itself to set a Western graduate apart from any other in a hiring situation, it indeed has the potential to positively impact a person’s overall university experience and even the value of their degree due to institutional recognition derived from success in the field of sport.

While there may indeed be better ways for a university to advertise itself than athletic dominance, the old adage of “any press is good press” may apply as any example of a university succeeding on the national stage is of benefit to all.

Go Mustangs.

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