If I can thank three years at the Nexus for anything – aside from a lot of lost nights and a paltry paycheck every so often – it allowed me to have the ignorance of UCSB athletics, which plagues so many in the student population, lifted off of my shoulders.

Every so often, I have heard random student A gripe about the conceived suckiness of athletics at our little slice of paradise. Perhaps those who berate our athletics program measure their perceptions based on the limelight, which in the case of UCSB is obviously lacking. But at the same time, while UCSB’s illustrious academic reputation is relatively obscured by its boozing name, how does that make you feel about your degree, graduating senior? I’m sure you, like me, are pretty confident of the doors your hard-earned degree will open for you in the real world, despite UCSB’s masked status.

Athletics are no different, you dig?

Those who smear the athletic achievements of our overall department or its teams, for the lack of SportsCenter airtime or ink in big time papers, are either ill-informed or on crack.

It seems its only inevitable that within the week the Big West will announce that UCSB will pick up its sixth straight Commissioner’s Cup. Just another day at the office, eh? For those of you who don’t know, the Commissioner’s Cup is awarded to the school with the most successful athletics program in the Big West for the year. The notion that UC Santa Barbara has even been able to win five in a row is absurd to many.

Maintaining an era of dominance on a level playing field is not exactly as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. Our program is underfunded, understaffed and underappreciated. Instead, the UCSB Athletics Dept. succeeds over its Big West counterparts without the benefits of deep pockets to offer a plethora of full-ride scholarships, like other major Division I schools. All it does is outwork, out-recruit and out-fundraise the other seven – soon to be eight – teams in the Big West year in and year out.

So going back to the entire notion that our program is no good, if in your line of work you are still the best out of the eight people you work with, but perhaps you are not recognized as the most prestigious in the nation, ask yourself this: What does that make you?

Or maybe you should just ask any athlete on campus.

Daily Nexus staff writer Sean Swaby can’t wait to see what’s inside of the 2006 Commissioner’s Cup.