With the success and popularity of football, it is one of the biggest sports in America and you would think the sport should receive the bulk of funding. However, recent struggles from the University of Northern Colorado Bears have gotten students to question if the football team should receive the most money.
The Bears have encountered challenges since transitioning to Division I, sparking conversations about funding more successful programs at UNC. While football is traditionally regarded as the main sport on campus with the most financial support, struggles on the field suggest the need to move more resources towards sports such as softball, volleyball and wrestling.
It is worth mentioning that UNC’s softball, volleyball and wrestling teams have been more successful than the football team in recent years. Despite recent lackluster seasons, the football program continues to receive a substantial budget.
UNC has a variety of sports programs that contribute to the university. I strongly believe that when distributing funds to these programs, volleyball, wrestling and softball should receive more resources and funding than football.
Other sports have consistent support and attendance from students and the community. Stadiumjourney.com is a website where people travel all over the U.S. and rate stadiums ranging from USports to the NFL. A few years ago, a user reviewed Nottingham Field. It turned out that there was an average of around 4,000 fans per football game out of 8,533 seats.
The Bank of Colorado arena seats around 2,734 people. Volleyball averages around 1,400 people in their games while softball brings in around 50 to 100 people at Gloria Rodriguez Field.
These programs can attract future student-athletes, instilling the school spirit at an early age. I’ve personally been to a few wrestling meets and have seen the stands in the arena packed to the top. The roar from the crowd can be heard throughout the arena.
While on my phone, I came across posts on the app Yik Yak, a site where you can say anything anonymously. As I scrolled down the app, I noticed that other students had the same frustrations and opinions as me regarding the funding of the football team. I was surprised and happy that more students were encouraging others to support the other programs like volleyball and wrestling.
The accomplishments of UNC’s softball, volleyball and wrestling teams go beyond the campus. These sport programs have been at prominent levels in the Big Sky and Big 12 conferences. The wrestling team won a national champion and softball won the Big Sky Tournament for the first time in team history. Last season, volleyball won their second consecutive Big Sky Championship as well, making them back-to-back champions for the second time in the last 13 years. With the recent success from these programs, there is a question regarding how much funding they are receiving.
According to Collegefactual.com, a website where you can locate funding for each sport in the university, the football team receives around $4 million every year. However, the volleyball team receives around $980,000, three times less than the football team with more national championships to show. Wrestling falls between volleyball and softball at around $706,000. Softball receives even less funding at around $583,000 even with the recent Big Sky Championship win this past spring.
While there may be arguments in favor of continuing to give the bulk of the money to the football program, it is important to acknowledge opposing viewpoints. The football program might claim that it generates revenue for the university through ticket sales and sponsorships. However, it is crucial to consider the long-term benefits of investing in a range of sports programs that can enhance the university’s overall athletic reputation and community involvement.
It would be beneficial for UNC to focus on providing increased support to programs such as softball, volleyball and wrestling. These sports have consistently shown success, consistent attendance and a positive influence on the university community.
By expanding funding to other sports that isn’t football, UNC has a chance to boost the athletic department by providing more funding and support to programs that have embraced success and won championships. Be sure to support the other programs on campus during the spring season.
Nathan Kitchen is a senior journalism major at the University of Northern Colorado.