University sports experts break the school spirit at GW – The GW Hatchet

It’s the climax of college basketball season, but you can’t tell from the Smith Center bleachers during a home game alone.

The general lack of school spirit at GW is not a new phenomenon – students have been expressing frustration on the issue for years and improving the school spirit routinely appears as a platform for many candidates for student union offices. We decided to take up the topic with experts from college athletics to get to the bottom of GW’s lack of school spirit.

John Allgood, the academic director of the Executive Masters of Science in Sports Business program at Temple University, said the driving force behind the school spirit for college sports is the excitement of winning.

“Winning consistently over a certain period of time creates the demands and enthusiasm for this sport,” said Allgood.

GW Men’s Basketball got off to a strong start in their home opener against the Americans, but their success has waned in recent games. The women’s team has had a mixed season so far, winning two of the four games they have played so far.

Allgood said sports are especially difficult for urban schools, which inherently have less land to place their stadiums and training fields. Another obstacle to a thriving sports division at GW is the fact that, unlike public colleges like Temple University, GW relies on its own funding to support sports programs.

“Private schools are usually smaller and therefore do not receive any public funding from the state,” he said. “It’s all from donations, foundations, and enrollments. In this way, public schools can finance their sports programs more than private schools. “

Despite their upper hand in subsidized Pennsylvania funding, he said, even Temple University like GW had to overcome the physical barriers of being a city school. The temple’s sports department pays large sums of money to the Eagles, Philadelphia’s NFL team, so that their soccer program can train on their professional soccer field.

“Inner-city schools have it more difficult because of their internal borders, which is why the big football and basketball powers are usually in the suburbs,” said Allgood.

Ray Glier, a freelance sports reporter based in Atlanta, said the pandemic was “a severe blow” to college sports departments.

“Some sports have been canceled across the country,” he said. “Sports have been cut because of COVID and I don’t know if they have all come back.”

GW cut seven athletics programs after the 2020/21 season, including rowing for men, sailing, squash for men and women, indoor track for men, tennis for men and water polo for women. However, this was not the first time some of the university’s sports programs have been canceled. GW’s football program has been cut due to low attendance and high costs.

Glier said administrators at schools like GW struggling with the school spirit have a responsibility to use the school spirit as an attractive element of the university for potential students.

“In a place like GW, I think you have to look at the university administration and what kind of language they use when it comes to athletics,” he said. “As long as they can increase enrollment in athletics students, they will.”

A decline in student interest in university sports was documented long before the pandemic.

Joel Maxcy, director of sports business at Drexel University, said DC’s wealth of cultural and social opportunities is attracting students to the city and away from activities that college students would otherwise find entertaining on non-urban campuses.

“If you ask a college student to go to a college football game, it’s a big part of their Saturday afternoon or Saturday evening – three, four, or five hours, maybe, when all is said and done,” Maxcy said. “And given other options and things they have to do with their time, it’s not as important as it used to be.”

Maxcy said that student excitement about college teams ultimately boils down to whether their teams win.

“When you have a winning team and a team that makes it to the tournament, it often wakes the sleeping giant in the student body,” he said. “This not only brings the student body back, gets the student body to become more actively involved in the team and to go to games, but also extends to alumni and donors and everyone else.”

Almost six years have passed since the men’s basketball team’s last victorious season in 2016/17, a long time when the school spirit is expected to be maintained despite other factors such as funding and location.

“I think, as always in sport, it’s important to win,” said Maxcy.


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