IUP is no different than many, if not most, colleges and universities in the sense that the basketball and football teams garner the most attention among all the athletic teams.
It’s always been that way, always will. We get that.
But something needs to be said for the student-athletes in other sports who work tirelessly to maintain their academics while managing to excel in their athletics. These athletes don’t compete for the praise and honor. They compete for the love of their sport. It would be in any university’s best interest to recognize how their accomplishments reflect on the school, even in the less popular sports.
Unfortunately, these accomplishments often go unnoticed, and it’s a missed opportunity for the athletic department.
Take for example the four members of the IUP Swimming and Diving team who qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships, which began today in Greensboro, N.C.
The three swimmers who qualified for nationals have each made the NCAAs for the third consecutive year, one of them being a defending national champion. Furthermore, a diver received a national qualifying score in the diving program’s first year back since 2007.
These are huge accomplishments for IUP Swimming and Diving that went unnoticed in Driscoll’s Update yesterday, a periodical video from the desk of IUP president Michael Driscoll.
After giving the men and women’s basketball teams praise that they deserve after advancing to the NCAA tournament, Driscoll went right into business about IUP’s new tuition affordability plan.
To be clear, we at The Penn have nothing against the IUP basketball teams. Our question is: How does that make the swimmers feel? They accomplished the same feat, qualifying for the NCAAs. Yet there was no mention of it at all.
This is not the first time swimmers have gone unnoticed, or at least felt like they were unnoticed.
In the leadup to the NCAA meet, even the IUP Athletics Instagram page neglected to post a single picture announcing that the swimming and diving team produced four national qualifiers.
We are not asking for any one sport on campus to be the center of attention. We would love to see each acknowledged for their accomplishments as they happen.
So let us do what Driscoll didn’t do. Congratulations to Paige Mikesell, Claire Mikesell, Rachel Johnson and Allison Brownlee for making the NCAA championships.