Imagine waking up on a Saturday morning to the sound of a brass band butchering “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” accompanied by the mind-numbing chant of cheerleaders shaking shredded plastic. You try to block it out, but still it comes, emanating from Harder Stadium where a bunch of guys are chasing after a dead, hallowed out pig. If that doesn’t set your skin crawling, what if you unwillingly paid for it? Spooky.
Associated Students President-elect Brian Hampton’s plan to once again revive UCSB’s long dead football program is, at best, a good intention gone wrong. It’s the last thing that UCSB needs right now, and any plan to create one will be expensive, time consuming and a waste of valuable resources that could be used elsewhere. The shaky history of the UCSB football program should be warning enough that the idea of reinstating it is a dead dog better left in the grave.
Hampton’s outline for funding the program from alumni donations and a student lock-in fee seems to be satisfying the wants of a few, while ignoring the needs of others. Less than a quarter of the student population signed the petition during Winter Quarter in support of the program. What guarantee is there that any support will exist for the program eight years down the road? If those who have been petitioning for it want it so bad, maybe they should pay for it, and let everyone else spend their cash on things they need more. Having to fork over an extra $93 a year for a program that most students don’t want is enough to make a lot of folks padlock their wallets shut.
Trying to satisfy the requirements of Title IX is another big problem, and so far Hampton’s idea doesn’t seem to address how he would equalize the imbalance that creating a football team would generate. Adding more scholarships or women’s sports programs would be nice, but if you’re not going to give the female students something equal in quality and content, then it’s unfair to them. If our president-elect is set on improving the sports program, maybe he should focus his energy on enhancing what we already have instead of haphazardly adding to it.
Space is a precious commodity in Santa Barbara. Due to UCSB’s location, there are tough building restrictions placed on the university so as not to encroach on and strain the environment. This makes finding a place to build anything a difficult task. The college is in need of renovations, better facilities, dorms and parking structures before it should even think of parceling out land for the buildings that a football program would require. If I have to fork over extra cash, I’d rather it be for improvements that would make the quality of education better, not for a place where big sweaty guys in spandex can play games.
The actual benefits for a football program remain to be seen. For something that will cost so much and require so many resources, there should be something extremely good coming out of its creation. UCSB doesn’t need to attract more students, and from what’s been said so far, the program itself would probably eat up any revenue generated. This doesn’t seem to offer much to the UCSB population at large.
If the program is instated and ends up folding for the third time, you can count it as one of the greatest wastes of energy and resources to date. Hampton should use his power next year to generate improvements and provide programs that will benefit everyone instead of catering to the wants of a select few. Sports are great, but they’re not a priority. It’s time to let the UCSB football program rest in peace. Amen.
Steven Ruszczycky is a sophomore English and biopsychology major and Daily Nexus columnist.