Let’s go back to academics

Ted Hamilton

I know I do not take much time to thank President Lefton for much of anything – to be honest, I rarely see the reason. There is an exception to every rule though.

In Tuesday’s Record Courier, Lefton was asked about the university’s budget for the athletic department. While he recognized the importance of Kent State’s sport teams, he also knows it is his responsibility to watch out for the finances of the school.

Why has financing college sports turned into a pissing match?

Just because the University of Akron has had updates to its athletic facilities does not mean Kent can or should.

Sports are important in some respects – they give students something to do during the week and let athletes perfect their game. Athletic programs can be the reason some students enroll at a certain school. Everybody loves a good basketball or football game. Even I enjoy a hockey match now and then.

That being said, sports programs are a money pit. According to a report put out by the NCAA last year, only a few programs exist without relying on subsidies from the university. Taking money from tuition or donors to put into sports programs undermines what the university is here for.

The majority of students are not here to play or even watch the school’s athletic teams – we are here to learn.

There seems to be no end in sight – “stimulus” package or not – to the sinking of our nation’s economy. In times like this, the last thing we should be worried about is pumping more money into entertainment. Instead, maybe we should be worried about spending money on academics.

The primary responsibility of a university is to provide people with an education, not to worry whether the M.A.C. Center is as nice as our rival’s. Let’s update some of the bathrooms in Bowman Hall, or give Verder Hall a makeover. The last thing we need to do is give money to a program that does not create a profit.

It’s good to root for the home team, but it should not be our number one priority. How many students go to the football games? Not many.

Instead of putting more money into sports, we should be focusing more energy on academics and research. Kent State is a research university and helped pioneer liquid crystal technology – we should not forget that.

Sports programs at our university are important to our culture, but they definitely should take a backseat to classroom academics and the research faculty conducts.

After all, the cure for cancer is not going to be found on the football field.

Ted Hamilton is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].