Empty Stands: Whose Fault is it?

By Madi Shove '13, Contributing Writer

Ask any student at Scripps College if they play a sport and 95 percent of the time they will say no. That’s because there are fewer than 60 students who play a varsity sport at Scripps. Playing a varsity sport is in itself a bigger commitment than any class could possibly be, consisting of up to four hours of practice a day and eight hours on game days, including traveling across the country in the middle of finals week to play in the NCAA tournament, even studying for a midterm on a dark bus at midnight on the way back from a game. In short, it’s a major time commitment. So why don’t these athletes get a little more credit for everything they do?

Many Scripps athletes look to blame the school for a lack of funding to the athletic department, but this belief in under funding is a common misperception. Mike Sutton, the CMS athletic director, said, “Scripps pays a fair amount based on the proportion of Scripps athletes that participate in a variety of sports.” Sutton explained that the payment plan adopted in the 1990’s is a fair formula and Scripps does adequately support their athletes with the proper funding.

What it eventually comes down to is a lack of support from the student body. Join in on a tour of the campus and a prospective athlete will notice that Scripps gives little support to its athletes. When one incoming student asked whether it was hard to play a sport at Scripps, the tour guide discouraged her from even trying to play a sport. Yes, being one of the 60 athletes on campus is hard, but what makes it harder for that student is the lack of encouragement the teams receive. Playing basketball in a gym packed with fans is unforgettable, and there is something unforgettable about playing soccer under the lights with peers and friends in the stands. Scripps athletes should be able to hear their peers cheering them on, yet most of the time Scripps students remain absent from the audience at athletic events. Unfortunately, a lack of Scripps students in the stands has become the norm.

With the start of the spring season, the few Scripps athletes look forward to a show of support from their peers and hope that this coming season won’t have them face another season of empty stands.