Response to ‘Gopher athletics a drain’

Athletics are an important part of the University of Minnesota.

Brian Krause

In response to Willard ShapiraâÄôs recent letter to the editor, which argued that the University of Minnesota should abandon major intercollegiate athletic competition, I would like to make a few points. First, it is important that we do not let a handful of criminal basketball players detract from the overall positive contribution, both athletic and academic, that the hundreds of Division I student-athletes make at this school. To assert that student-athletes âÄúmore often than not, bring dishonor to a school due to misbehaviorâÄù is to ignore these contributions. In this sense, athlete deviance is not so much a problem endemic of student athletics in general, but rather is a set of isolated incidents related to a small number of individuals. In light of the recent debate surrounding the necessity for a new Vikings stadium, many in the local community, Shapira included, have proposed that the University either share TCF Bank Stadium with the Vikings or sell it to the team permanently. These proposals demonstrate a misunderstanding of actual issues involved in this debate. Like the Metrodome, TCF Bank Stadium simply could not meet the needs of a modern NFL team. The Vikings would likely reject TCF Bank Stadium as a permanent home for many of the same reasons that they are attempting to abandon the Metrodome. Just because our new stadium was built to house a football team does not make it a sufficient venue to house an NFL football team. Finally, I believe it is important to look at the many roles that the University as a public institution plays in this state. While it would be easy to simply say that the University exists only to educate, this would be disingenuous. The University also provides jobs to literally tens of thousands of Minnesotans, conducts research pertinent to solving world crises, serves as a place for personal growth and discovery for thousands of young adults and provides multiple forms of entertainment for the surrounding community, including theater, visual arts and competitive Division I athletics. Brian Krause University undergraduate student