NSU Wrestling Pause Draws Vigorous Online Protest

On Monday, Northern State University announced that it is suspending the Wolves’ wrestling program for two years. By this morning, the “Save Northern State University Wrestling” Facebook page had drawn 3,516 Likes. A post to that page Friday asserting that keeping an AAU wrestling tournament and camp are reasons to maintain a collegiate athletic program drew 71 Likes.

screen cap, Save Northern State University Wrestling Facebook page, 2015.03.22
screen cap, Save Northern State University Wrestling Facebook page, 2015.03.22

I have yet to be notified of a Facebook page supporting a South Dakota tuition freeze to keep college affordable for those 33 junior wrestlers, or a page protesting the suspension of activities in the Johnson Fine Arts Center for a year and a half.

The lesson here: the market for online discussion of South Dakota sports is far greater than the market for discussion of South Dakota politics, education, or the arts. Time to rebrand as Dakota Sports Press!

5 Responses to NSU Wrestling Pause Draws Vigorous Online Protest

  1. Although I am a big fan of wrestling (Not Professional) in appreciation of what life lessons it can contribute in the overall educational experience and intense preparation it requires I feel there is too much emphasis on athletics in our society. Don’t get me wrong! I do not have a desire to see this program suspended or ended! It’s been posted on the Save NSU Wrestling that there was misinformation given out for the reasons to suspend this program.

    I feel the 1st priority should be the support of academic programs and being able to hire and promote top notch teachers and professors. What about conferences, guest speakers, trips for students or whatever that is invested to additionally set apart our academic programs?

    It just seems like a never ending sports program financial arms race with athletic facilities, scholarships and whatever it takes to have a winning team. When will we say enough? I look at schools like Carlton, St. Johns, St. Olaf’s and maybe even U of Minnesota Morris and it seems academics takes the publicity and athletics although being a collegiate sport is there to add to the experience not the main experience.

    With the size of Northern, Black Hills and Dakota State compared to larger schools it seems like going to a private school at a public school price.

  2. I harp again. We in the US, have the wrong model. Sports and other extracurricular events and circuses should be in private clubs. School is for scholarly pursuits, for academic pursuits. A confused, diffused focus is but one reason why schools in the advanced world leave the US secondary schools in the dust.

  3. Joan Brown

    I have to agree with Lynn and John about athletic programs in colleges, however, I feel there is too much emphasis put on athletics in middle school and high school. When I was in school and when my kids were in school you didn’t hear parents telling their kids they had to be good in sports so they might get athletic scholarships, the emphasis was put on academics. Over the last about 30 years I have heard several parents tell their kids they have to be good at sports.

  4. Joan, you hear parents saying that, without at least an equivalent emphasis on academics? Ugh! What movies do these people watch?

    John, Lynn, you are after my heart on this one. Sports have value, but they skew the focus in our schools. The argument that a public university needs to sustain a sports program so non-university students have more tournaments to play in seems to really stretch the proper scope of public higher education. And the alumni who pour dollars into their alma maters’ sports teams and stadia instead of into academic scholarships and libraries and laboratories represent that same mis-focus.

  5. Deb Geelsdottir

    I am an athlete who successfully participated in several sports in college, specifically at NSC. I also coached for several years in SD junior and senior public high schools. I may have a different perspective.

    Those sports do have particular attributes not available in the classroom. There are lessons learned that don’t necessarily relate to grade point averages. Those things are real and valuable.

    However, there is a real need for a structure around secondary school sports that makes them equitable and governable. I think a very important part of that is an elimination of all intercollegiate sports. Seriously. That eliminates athletic scholarships to high schoolers and the attendant pressure on those teenagers. Colleges should have intramural sports and campus tournaments.

    For those who want to play sports on a higher competitive level, that’s what the AAU and all the private leagues and tournaments, private lessons and coaches are for! Let professional teams scout intramural teams and select prospects, providing private lessons and equipment. In other words, let the wealthy professional leagues provide and pay for their own player development.