As a university, we should take pride in our sports teams.
Sports are always a major part of schools, no matter how big or small the university. But what happens to the sports teams when they have no place to practice or play and no place to call home?
Recently there have been many noticeable changes to the University of La Verne; however, not all changes have been positive.
In fall 2007 the University turned its tennis courts into a parking lot, forcing the tennis team to practice and play at other locations off campus and leaving no real home for their games.
The football team has a field to play and practice on, but the track circling it can no longer be used by the track team to run on. It has been deemed unsafe for the runners and can no longer be used to host track meets.
And there is a death sentence bestowed upon the Ben Hines Baseball/Soccer Field. On the day that the new Campus Center opens, ULV, as a condition of gaining city of La Verne approval of its master plan (and permission to build the Campus Center), promised to transform the field into a parking lot for the new Campus Center.
The baseball team is an important team at the University and it is unclear whether the promised Brown Property sports complex will be completed in time to support our championship team. The term “sandlot” may take on a whole new meaning as the team searches for a suitable venue. National Collegiate Athletic Association baseball guidelines dictate field requirements. High school fields such as Bonita High School are not the required size.
So now the baseball team may be left without a home, along with the ULV men’s and women’s soccer programs.
In case you are keeping a list, add tennis, baseball, soccer and track and field to a list of “hits” that includes women’s softball, men’s volleyball and the Old Gym. For those new to list making, women’s softball was recently played where a parking lot resides behind the Tents. Men’s volleyball was cut for budgetary reasons. The Old Gym, a great place for intramural sports, was razed to make way for Campus Center construction.
While those who drive will think it is great that there will be more parking spots available, especially with the new Campus Center being built, it nonetheless is a shame that the sports teams have to take a hit.
The Athletics program at ULV is certainly paying a high price for campus building projects. And the cost to the overall University is one of campus climate and campus culture. The damage exacted on student athletes and their fans is one that will come back to haunt the University.
There will be an effect regarding crowd turnout. Without games on campus, attendance will drop. When the sports games are on campus, people who live here can walk to the games, and they are easy to find, instead of being forced to drive somewhere to hunt them down.
The logistics of student athletes commuting some distance to practices and also of getting support personnel to games and practices must be considered.
And there is the question of how ULV will be viewed as a University when teams and fans from other schools show up for our home games, and they are located on guest campuses. This cannot be good for the University’s reputation. Instead of showcasing ULV, we will be introducing prospective students and guests to other venues. Many new students look at a school’s sports teams when applying to universities. With the current situation for sports, many applicants might be turned off from attending the University. This would result in an even larger decline in enrollment, further diminishing the University’s budget.
And there is the matter of pride. The home team should play before home fans at home. That place is at ULV.
While our sports teams cannot completely save the University, they can greatly enhance the overall image and reputation with the proper facilities. We hope there are plans in the near future to accommodate ULV’s sports teams so that they have a true place to call home.