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“I swell with pride when reflecting on the draw of Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld.”

And why, wonders this University of Central Florida administrator, doesn’t our university have the same draw? Why doesn’t anybody come to our football games? Why can’t he swell with UCF pride at the same full attendance he sees at aquariums and amusement parks? “I … cringe when our football team is featured on national TV because the camera might pan up beyond the lower bowl or near the end zone, where seats are often empty.” The university has more than done its bit – it shuts down classes altogether when there’s a big game, for instance…

But here’s the thing about Central Florida University. Empty its football stands might be, but the school itself – qua school, if you know what I mean – is insanely overcrowded, with extensive reliance on massive lecture halls, online courses, PowerPoint automata instead of teachers, etc., etc. In fact, UCF is one of University Diaries’ online makeover schools, universities she believes should simply accept reality and shut down their physical campus.

Given the nature of UCF, would you go to a football game there if you were a student? What do you suppose this high-security (cheating and cameras are rampant) dystopia means to the typical student? A place to pick up a degree, sure. But little more.

Yet why, the UCF administrator asks, do students not understand that

the university’s investment in athletic programs and student-athletes is an important part of UCF’s move to enhance its brand and image, and full support by fans can be a major contributor to that end.

It’s the same deal at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, which is about to build a billion dollar football stadium:

[The university’s president] tied the stadium project to UNLV’s larger aspiration of becoming a top-tier research university.

What is there about spending all our money on sports will make us a great intellectual institution that these people don’t understand??

Margaret Soltan, July 7, 2014 8:56AM
Posted in: Online Makeover, sport

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3 Responses to ““I swell with pride when reflecting on the draw of Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld.””

  1. Mr Punch Says:

    UCF and UNLV, as it happens, are universities that conceivably could benefit from successful football programs – locally dominant schools in fast-growing metro areas with lots of domestic in-migration. But it’s a longshot at best; and the whole thing would be more persuasive if we could see parallel academic commitment and progress.

  2. charlie Says:

    What is to be said about an admin who references children’s theme parks as suitable analogies for a university? Given the laid, loaded and drunk aspirations of the undergrads, why not porn sites, or in keeping with theme parks, strip clubs, which are more than abundant in FL?

  3. superdestroyer Says:

    Mr. Punch,

    The problem with Central Florida is that any of their students who grew up as college football fans are fans of Florida or Florida State. Why would any of those students convert to being fans of the Knights?

    It would make more sense for Central Florida to shut down its athletic program and just have viewing parties when Florida or Florida State have good teams.

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