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Details surrounding Dean's Cup need more clarification

By Priyanka Duvvuru     4/19/12 7:00pm

Last week's coverage of the Dean's Cup by the Thresher did not properly represent the sentiment of those who have worked hard to spread its purpose. Many of the points that were addressed in the staff editorial were flaws that we, too, recognize in the proposal.

Many students and sports representatives with whom I have spoken believe the Dean's Cup is a good idea that needs some refinement in order to gain support from all of the residential colleges and to keep the Graduate Student Association happy as well. As of now, it has been one of the only ideas proposed to help mitigate the negative sentiment toward GSA's involvement in college sports and to increase competition between the colleges. However, that does not mean that it is the only solution. One thing that both Hanszen College senior Christoph Meyer and I have tried to reiterate is that we are open to other ideas and suggestions, even if they do away with the idea of the Dean's Cup entirely. The purpose of the proposal was to not only address the issue that in the last decade, GSA has won the President's Cup five times, but to also address the negative sentiment from multiple colleges that the playing field between the graduate and undergraduate populations is not level.

Undergraduate teams are not allowed to have varsity athletes play their sport for their residential colleges. However, GSA has multiple ex-varsity athletes who are allowed to compete in their NCAA sport. The Dean's Cup would allow all of the residential colleges to compete at the same level. Currently, the Dean's Cup proposal calls for freshman points to be included in the Dean's Cup and for only residential colleges to be allowed to compete for the Dean's Cup. Everything else related to competing for the President's Cup would remain the same. The purpose of this is not to kick out GSA, but to bolster the sense of inter-college competition that has declined in recent years and attempt to address the negative sentiment that has built up towards GSA's involvement in college sports.

One of the shortcomings of the Dean's Cup is that it does not directly address the issue of leveling the playing field and suggestions for improvement in this aspect are necessary to solidify the effectiveness of this proposal. Furthermore, two cups could allow two different colleges to win the President's and Dean's Cup. There is a concern of redudancy and a worry of the possible diminished importance of the President's Cup.

GSA's argument is that their involvement in the competition for the President's Cup is a way to foster interaction between the undergraduate and graduate students. However, it has done the opposite. Most colleges dislike playing GSA, and it is very rare that friendships are formed in the midst of a game against your opponent.

It should also be noted that the proposal of including the freshman points in the point tally for the President's Cup has already been proposed and shot down. Both Intramural Sports and GSA refuse to allow the colleges to have a "handicap" against GSA.

The idea of creating a separate "freshman league" with additional freshman sports has been proposed as well. However, most colleges currently struggle to field teams pulling from their entire college constituency. Therefore, it would be unreasonable to attempt to create freshman-only teams within colleges.

Furthermore, if the pure purpose of being included in college sports was to enhance the relationship between graduate and undergraduate students, the GSA would have considered the invitation that was made last semester for graduate students to join undergraduate teams as a solution to their claim that there are not enough graduate students to form their own league. So far, there has been nothing but refusals and animosity toward the idea, which shows that their argument of attempting to form relationships with undergraduates is not entirely credible.

Regardless of miscommunication about what the Dean's Cup is, what its purpose is and how good of a solution it is, the best thing that has come from this is that campus is talking, which will hopefully lead to a change in how graduate and undergraduate students interact in college sports. Discussion about the Dean's Cup is encouraged, and changes to the proposal are welcomed. We are not saying this is the solution: We are only trying to get people talking so that change can occur.

Priyanka Duvvuru is a Hanszen College sophomore.

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