I spent some time last night watching women’s college soccer: UC San Diego vs. UC Santa Clara. The field was a wreck because it’s also used for football. The stands were not especially full.
It was awesome. Both teams are going to end up in the post-season tournament, so even though San Diego won easily everybody was playing well. The folks who came to watch were enthusiastic. The announcers were knowledgeable and human. The experience was largely ad-free, except for the break at halftime.
It’s how college sports should be. Pretty much the exact opposite of The Atlantic’s Shame of College Sports.
The Shame attaches primarily to men’s sports which you can sell advertising against. But it’s not even all men’s sports: I guarantee the crew team and the golf team are genuinely composed of student-athletes.
The announcers spent some time talking about how muddy, churned up fields change the strategy for soccer—and that as they go into the tournament that fields like that are a fact of life, especially for Midwestern schools. Fields for other sports wrecked by football seems like an awfully good metaphor.
Pay the athletes who make money for schools. Build the facilities other athletes need to compete. Sports are good. Be honest about them.