The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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Victory or not, respect our football players

For those of you who do follow SMU athletics, you are likely dismayed at our football team’s recent woes, which are exacerbated by the relatively high hopes that many of us – including myself – harbored for this season. These now wavering hopes are slightly buoyed by the recent success of our soccer and volleyball teams, but, while I support those programs whole-heartedly, let’s face it – this is collegiate athletics, and this is Texas; the name of the game is football.

A recent debate over SMU’s football program and athletes has been waged within the walls of – well, where else – Facebook, and there have been a number of many frustrated opinions voiced (or, rather, typed). And, because Facebook officially creeps me out, I’ve decided to bring the debate to the pages of our beloved Daily Campus, where I can write this without worrying about instantaneous updates being sent to all my friends’ profiles notifying them that I have, in fact, had some sort of recent activity, and, therefore, am still considered alive.

I don’t blame anyone for being frustrated; I am too. I don’t blame anyone for calling for changes or reform; something needs to happen. Nine points in two games is unacceptable. But I do blame people for acting as if the athletes as individuals owe us something – for acting as if the student-athletes are indebted to us, the students.

One Facebook post argues that the athletes go to school for one reason and one reason only: to play football, and that they are going to school on borrowed money and borrowed time. That’s ignorant. Student athletes go to school for two reasons: to be a student and to be an athlete, hence the name. They have two jobs; many of us have just one, which shows why they are not playing on borrowed money, or on borrowed time. Anyone who has ever played a sport – or been involved in any activity at a high level, for that matter – knows how much time and dedication it takes, and especially in a sport as demanding as football.

Just because many of the football players are having their education paid for doesn’t in any way signify that the money is anything but earned. Is an academic scholarship any different? My education is paid for by one, and I’ve never once dragged myself out of bed for a 6 a.m. brain workout, or had to spend thirty minutes in an ice bath because my finance test rocked me so hard. But I would definitely feel slighted and more than a little disrespected if someone insinuated that I am here on borrowed money. In fact, I personally would have never even visited the SMU campus had the football coaches not sent me a recruiting letter, and I ended up enrolling as a student – sans the “athlete” – because I didn’t feel I was capable of handling the rigors and demands of both a higher education and a Division I football program. I took the easy way out, and I don’t think it the right of any of us to disrespect those who didn’t.

Again, it’s not that I’m not frustrated with the way the football season has started – I’m damn frustrated. But I guarantee you not one of us beleaguered fans is half as fed up as are the least of the football players. They don’t sacrifice upwards of half of their waking hours to get humiliated on Saturdays by other teams, fans and the media. The least we can do as a student body -and their classmates – is to not add insult to injury by joining the throng of opponents in disrespecting them. So moan, complain and call for a change. But don’t act as if the student athletes haven’t earned the benefits of the SMU education they are receiving, or that they owe us something more than their hard work for it. They already have their hands full.

Now excuse me while I go do some brain push-ups.

 

About the writer:

Brian Albrecht is a finance and English double major. He can be reached at [email protected].

 

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