Gophers athletics a story of success

Athletic criticism routinely ignores student-athletes’ contributions.

Mike Torchia

As a University of Minnesota student-athlete, I was appalled by the ignorant tone of Ashley DresserâÄôs Monday column âÄúUniversities need to turn Basque to basics.âÄù It is high time to showcase the amazing contributions student-athletes have made to the University. I am growing tired of lazy journalism that ridicules what is, on the whole, an extraordinary set of individuals. Dresser attempts to draw parallels between Eric DeckerâÄôs injury and the recent arrest of Basque militants even while admitting the two incidents are incomparable. She then goes on to depict the University as imposing a sports-fanatic culture on her, just as the Spanish government has tried to impose Spanish culture on the Basque people. This is all done to argue for the separation of athletics from the other facets of the University. If Dresser had considered the integral role student-athletes play in Minnesota athletics and the dual roles expected of them, surely she would have realized that any separation of the University and sports is wholly impossible and borderline ridiculous. Look up Ashley Nord, the latest Rhodes Scholar from the University, one of only 32 such individuals selected from the United States and a former Gophers track athlete. While you are at it, you could talk to Hassan Mead, a five-time All-American in only four seasons of competition. He has a fascinating story of coming to America knowing no English and is now thriving as an athlete and a student. Talk to the director of student-athlete welfare to see the multitude of community service programs Gophers athletes engage in. The unavoidable truth âÄî perhaps an inconvenient one for many writers âÄî is that the majority of University student-athletes pursue their athletics with passion while simultaneously outperforming their non-athlete peers in the classroom. Please, writers, the next time you write about the University imposing crushing financial burdens to pay for the stadium, remember to give credit where credit is due. Mike Torchia University undergraduate student