Barber Shop Talk: Give Rice athletics a chance
New Students: Welcome to Rice! A new Rice Athletics season has begun, and while you all have been introduced to our sports spirit at Rice Rally during Orientation Week, it is important that you give the athletics a chance past just the first week or two of the school year.
It’s well known that many Rice students show undue apathy toward the university’s athletic teams. Sometimes, that apathy can even turn into a distaste for the teams and in turn toward the student-athletes. It’s important to remember that if we treat this section of our undergraduate population — a section that makes up roughly 10 percent of all students — with disdain and stereotypes, it poisons our culture of care. It is as important as ever that we support our student-athletes and not put them down, especially as they are our fellow classmates and friends.
Additionally, it’s time to dispel the notion that Rice has bad sports teams. In the past two seasons, five different teams have won conference championships, seven different players have won conference player of the year awards or individual tournament titles and four different teams have made NCAA tournament appearances. While football, baseball and men’s basketball have all struggled in recent years, other sports on campus that might not have as much mainstream appeal have clearly been succeeding. The Owls are excelling on the field, on the course, on the court and in the pool, and making an effort to attend at least a portion of the game will make a difference. Even for the teams that are struggling, having supportive fans in attendance could inspire them in their pursuit of greatness.
Attending Rice home sporting events could not be easier. The vast majority of teams have their home games on campus and student admission to every home game is free. The athletic department has designated student sections at their venues for students to get a great view of the game. The Rice Rally Club often has free food and apparel giveaways. Even if you are not a sports fan, consider attending not just to see the outcome of the sporting event but also to see one of your friends or O-Week siblings do something that they are passionate about, just as you would go see a friend in the orchestra perform even if you don’t like classical music.
Showing support for athletics and our student-athletes does not stop at just attending events. Off the field, our student athletes are academic advisors, O-Week advisors, employees at on-campus business, leaders in the classroom and so much more. Often, student-athletes can feel divided from the rest of campus. Let’s do our best to help turn around that trend. Returning students, if you don’t care for athletics at all, I urge you to reconsider and show as much support as you can. Between the new and returning students, when we all support each other in our various pursuits on campus, we are bound to succeed. Don’t just cheer for the Rice Owls during O-Week. As men’s basketball head coach Scott Pera said during Rice Rally, “keep that same energy” during the entire year.
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Sophomore guard Haylee Swayze had a coming out party for Rice women’s basketball during the Owls’ 71-47 home opening win against Nicholls State University. Swayze excelled off the bench, scoring 22 points in only 17 minutes of play. She was a perfect four for four from the free throw line, and made four threes on a 57 percent shooting clip.
Rice soccer tied the University of North Texas 0-0 after two overtimes on Friday evening, claiming the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Conference USA Championship. Rice holds an overall season record of nine wins, five losses and three draws; in C-USA play, the Owls have six wins, one loss and three draws.
Last week, the NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously to allow student-athletes to “benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.” Now, before you get super excited about playing as the Rice Owls in a future EA Sports video game, it is important to note that while the NCAA announcement is a step in the right direction, it is best taken with a grain of salt.