Tag Archive | "Sports"


Thrill of a lifetime three miles above ground: A personal account of experiencing flight

Posted on 06 November 2008 by Katelyn Ferral


Skydiving has always been something I’ve wanted to do, and since I’m known to much of the Marquette community as something of a maverick, I decided the last day of this year’s dive season was the day to do it.

So this past Sunday myself and a group of friends trekked down to Skydive Midwest, just south of Milwaukee, to fling ourselves out of an aircraft from 14,000 feet above ground. Was I scared? Well, of course loyal Warrior readers, I was scared. Did I die? Well, of course, loyal Warrior readers, I didn’t die.
I obviously asked for some reassuring statistics before jumping and learned that skydiving is statistically safer than cross-country driving or snowboarding. This didn’t come as much of a relief; however, after I was asked to release all liability from every Skydive Midwest employee and their mother upon my untimely death. I literally signed away my life in over 150 places. Seriously.

Those privileged enough to skydive with me that day included friends Catie Uggeri, Liz Driscoll, Tyler Bowlus and Deanna Anderson. They were fabulous dive partners, and we now share a special bond. All of them were so understanding about my pre-jump antics and really refrained from all mockery as I jumped around like I had Tourette’s before putting my life in jeopardy.

“Katelyn was clearly concerned about her jump,” said Catie Uggeri, a College of Arts and Sciences junior.

“She was ridiculously insane.” Yes, Catie, I suppose I was.

Ok, so here was the breakdown of activity just prior to my atmospheric leap. I put on a sweet aeronautical-like jumpsuit. I put on a harness. I began to sweat. I sat down. The plane arrived. I walked. Oh yes, I walked. And yes, it did feel like I was in Armageddon on a quest to save mankind. After a brief interrogation session with my skydive instructor, an experienced jumper from the Netherlands named Bas, where I drilled him on his qualifications and background, we boarded a tiny, tiny plane and were ready to jump within 15 minutes of taking off.

I climbed into the plane, and promptly placed a death grip upon the seat as my instructor strapped himself to my backside in preparation for our tandem jump. My jump instructor, was quite the joker. Oh yes, Bas was quite funny three miles above ground as he told me he wasn’t sure how to land and wasn’t sure if my harness was secure. It took all my might not to yak on him on the spot.

As we reached our final altitude, the small door opened. At this point, all mental capacity to complete brain function ceased and I mindlessly wobbled to the door and thrust myself into the white abyss.
And folks, it was awesome. There really are no words to describe it. We free fell at 130 miles per hour for 60 seconds from 14,000 feet. There is nothing like it. After a minute, the parachute opened and I felt like I was flying. Bas suddenly became the wise sage I always hoped he was and I was able to enjoy myself.
I could see all of Milwaukee and the shore of Lake Michigan. On clear days, you’re supposed to be able to see Chicago. The view was amazing, and for a short time, I felt a little like how God must feel when he looks down upon us every day.

“The scariest part was when you look out and just see clouds and know you’re going to jump with nothing underneath you,” said Liz Driscoll a junior in the College of Health Sciences.

And indeed folks it is. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact I was dropping myself out of a moving aircraft. And once I got past that, it was great. I think Tyler Bowlus sums up the experience well.

“It was pretty frickin’ sweet,” said Bowlus, a College of Engineering junior. “It was the thrill of life time; I can’t even describe the thrill of just falling.”

I give the instructors and employees at Skydive Midwest two thumbs up. All were educated, funny and completely sane. My $155 was completely, totally and utterly worth it.

My friends, I highly, highly recommend making the trip. Complete your Jesuit education and quest for “cura personalis” with a low-risk skydive from the heavens. If I can do it, you can too.

“If you’ve ever considered skydiving, do it, don’t wait. If you’ve never considered it, you should,” said Uggeri.

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A word to the wise: a freshman’s guide to being a Marquette basketball fan

Posted on 20 August 2008 by Brian Henry

To the Newest Members of the Marquette Student Body,

Welcome to what will be the best four years of your life (perhaps five or six for some of you). It is my pleasure to welcome you to Marquette.
Now, I’m sure you’ve all heard about the friends you are going to make, the lessons you are going to learn, and the beer you are going to drink (trust me, it deserves it’s own category). That stuff is all fine and dandy, but I’m not hear to tell you about any of it. I’m not sentimental…
I’m a sports writer. And as a sports writer, it is my job to quench the one insatiable desire on this campus that never runs dry: Marquette Basketball. With that being said, it is time for you, the Class of 2012, to be acclimated to the proudest athletic tradition we have on campus.
First and foremost, there are no pre-requisites to be a fan of Marquette Basketball. You can be the fourth generation of your family to come to this fine institution, know its history, and know why its basketball program is so treasured. Or, you can still think Marquette is a city in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Either way, we’re all in the same boat.

The next, and second most important step is getting yourself in the building for every home game.
How do we do that Brian?
Easy. Walk into the Al McGuire Center, reach into your wallet, and throw down 85 big ones. That’ll get you one seat to every single home game for the season. Here’s another suggestion to go with that: buy those tickets ASAP!
Before I tell you why, it’s time for a brief history lesson. The last three years have been the most successful stretch in the history of Marquette Basketball since 1980. Come to grips with that. Not one of best, THE best in almost 30 years.
Sixty-nine total victories, averaging 23 wins per season and most importantly, three consecutive births into the NCAA Tournament. On top of that, the returning team was a goofy 7-footer’s miracle shot away from advancing to the Sweet 16. As you can imagine, tickets to these games are a hot commodity to students, faculty, and alums alike.

Now I know the year is just beginning, but do some math with me. There are roughly 4,200 student section seats at the Bradley Center. Our undergraduate enrollment is just over 8,000. Toss in grad students, and that’s 11,500 people who eligible to purchase student season tickets. That means well over half of the student body at Marquette will not have season tickets to basketball games. So if you want to be in the house, make it a priority or trust me, there are plenty that will.

Once you’re in the building, you are entitled to do anything that won’t get you kicked out of the arena (Trust me, I know from experience. Security can get pretty physical). Everyone knows the drill whether you’ve stepped inside the Bradley Center or not. Cheer loud and hard until you are blue in the face. I have no fear that you will struggle with that at all.

It’s the conversation that goes on after the game that forces me to lay down the law on a few issues…
Dominic James is not going to stop shooting threes… Deal with it.
We are a fast-breaking, guard oriented team that loves to play defense… Embrace it.
No, that huge guy at the end of the bench, transfer Liam McMorrow, cannot suit up this year, no matter how bad you want him to.
You are limited to only three uses of the phrase, “If we only had a true center…”
Yes, it is awesome that they sell beer at games, even though the prices are absurd.
And finally, never under any circumstance begin a statement with, “If Tom Crean was here…” (The person that hears you say that gets to punch you in the arm).

I’m not going to try and explain it in detail, but you are going to have a blast this year. This team will put you through more emotional highs and lows than Brett Favre’s off-season (It still stings, doesn’t it Packers fans?). Enjoy your time down at the Bradley Center and love your time here at Marquette.

Brian Henry
Class of 2009

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MU’s Athletic Training Program: A rigorous but fulfilling experience

Posted on 16 April 2008 by Tim Bucher

Anyone who has ever played an organized sport in high school or college can surely attest to the notion that regardless of the sport it means the world to have a good athletic trainer. They are the ones who ice your knees, bandage your hand or tape your ankles. Ensuring you can take that last snap, finish that last lap or take the final shot. They practically work in the shadows, unfamiliar to an ordinary fan but when it comes to those they treat, they mean the world. Athletic training is a field of study and vocation in which many find no glory or fame but rather a sense of satisfaction in helping others. But in the past decade it has transcended beyond the traditional lines of high school, collegiate, and professional sports.

Marquette University’s Athletic Training program outlines one of its educational goals with the statement “cura personalis” which literally translates into “care for the total person.” The program has formally been in existence since 1999, initial serving only as an internship program but becoming a major a couple of years soon after.

In the program’s original internship format, students would work for the certified athletic trainer on campus, honing their skills through firsthand experience. As technology advanced and the field of interested students widened, the program expanded into a major. Today, the education process involves the successful completion of a national test and a certified degree program, along with a major in Athletic Training from an accredited university, e.g. Marquette.

The program is housed within the exercise science and physical therapy majors in the College of Health Sciences. Each year the program admits a targeted number of 14 students but is admitting slightly over that threshold with 16 students this academic year. Entering the program can be done two ways; either a student is directly admitted into the program through the application process or students can gain entrance by transferring in the program. If the target number of 14 is not reached through direct admittance or there are a number of dropouts, the program turns to transfer students. Students who tend to drop out do so for a couple of reasons; they find other majors to compliment their Physical Therapy major or they simply cannot commit to the rigors of the program.

Marquette junior Amy Patel, a student in the Athletic Training program, can attest to the intensity that comes along with the major.

“The AT program here is pretty rigorous. It requires a big time commitment. We start clinicals sophomore year with the MU teams, and at a minimum we need to put in 10 hours but usually it comes out somewhere between 10-15 hours. Our schedule over the course of 4 years or 6 if you are PT (which many of us are) requires us to take on average 17-18 credits a semester,” Patel said.

Students are required to take on a large science academic course load and also maintain a minimum 2.75 grade point average throughout their time in the program as well.

Over the course of just 10 years the program as well as the profession has seen a great deal of change. Clinical Assistant Professor and Athletic Trainer at Marquette, David Leigh, has been at Marquette for nearly 25 years when he started as the Head Athletic Trainer and has been able to witness the transformation of athletic training over the years. Along with the specific educational requirements that have changed over the years, Leigh also cited the role technology has played in the field of athletic training.

“When I started there were no bone scans, no MRIs and arthroscopic surgery had just begun,” Leigh said.

Technology has also played an integral part in the movement of the field out into other aspects of the sports world and the medical profession. Athletic trainers can now find themselves anywhere from NASCAR to the ballet. Many of the AT graduates Leigh has seen at Marquette branch out into a variety of areas. MU’s Athletic Training Program has graduates in Single A baseball, health care administration and clinics around the country while others stay at Marquette to pursue a major in the Physical Therapy Program. There have not been any Marquette graduates of the program on staff, though many who go into physical therapy after athletic training stay in the area.

Led by program director Chris Geiser and clinical assistant professors Marnie Vanden Noven and Leigh, the Athletic Training Program at Marquette has expanded significantly over the past decade. Guided by a larger interest in the field and changes in technology, athletic training has become more and more undefined.

But Leigh makes sure to mention, “what hasn’t changed is that it’s a people profession.” Students and staff in the program are committed to what they do, and that is helping people.

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The mustache and the mile

Posted on 13 February 2007 by Paul Connelly

Marquette Track will face the best the Big East has to offer this weekend at the Big East Indoor Championships in Akron, Ohio. Both the men’s and women’s teams are coming off strong performances at the Meyo Invitational and Tad Metzger Invitational, where several individuals achieved personal records (PRs).

Senior Zach Pawlowski set a Marquette record, clearing 15 – 7.75 in the pole vault and crushing his previous indoor mark of 14 – 11. Following suit on the women’s team, sophomore Carrie Schmid and freshman Liz Wilke reached new heights. Schmid tied the school record of 11 – 9.75 while Wilke cleared 11-5, qualifying both for the Big East Indoor Championships.

“I felt happy and relieved to know that I didn’t need to worry about qualifying for Indoors anymore,” said Wilke of her qualifying jump. Now I am looking forward to improving at each meet and I am excited to be a part of a big meet like the Big East Championships.”

The women’s team had a string of fourth place finishes that have them headed in the right direction.So far, the following competitors all finished in fourth place in their respective events: senior Kristina Malin, who finished the 500m dash with a time of 1:14.76; junior Kaitlyn Chambers, who finished the 1000m run with a time of 2:54.56; freshman Erynn James, who cleared the height of 5 feet 7 inches in high jump and junior Cassie Peller, who finished the mile in 4:51.71.

The men’s team has recently turned in several PRs, demonstrating the team’s overall improvement. Many athletes all achieved indoor PRs at the Meyo Invitational, including sophomore Tom Cassady in the 400m dash with a time of 49.89, sophomore Antonio Jones in the 400m dash with a time of 50.26, sophomore Tyler Merten in the 800m run with a time of 1:55.48 and senior Tommy Schmitz in the mile with a time of 4:14.81.

“It feels like reaching a new level of personal satisfaction and knowing that you can push yourself to levels you never thought you could reach,”said 800m runner Tyler Merten.

When the men’s team is not concentrating on their events, they like to keep the mood light. At the Iowa State Open, the men decided to grow facial hair for the meet. On the day of the meet, each athlete cut their beards into handlebar mustaches to intimidate the competition.

“We looked so goofy,” said sophomore pole vaulter Sean Aldridge.

Although Marquette is not known as a powerhouse in track and field, the team enjoys competing at the collegiate level and looks to gain national recognition.

Unlike most sporting events, a track meet can last all day, meaning a lot of down time for the athletes, creates powerful bonds between athletes that last a lifetime. Marquette’s track teams motivate each other and give hope and encouragement on and off the track. They push themselves each day, striving to improve. All of the sweat, aches and pains endured throughout the winter come down to this: Indoor Championships. This is where athletes put everything on the line and leave nothing on the track.

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For every holiday there is a sport

Posted on 06 December 2006 by Luke Fuller

Thanksgiving goes with football like exam week goes with caffeine. Odds are most of us got a strong dose of football over Thanksgiving break, whether it was one of the three NFL games played Thursday, one of the great college football match-ups the rest of the weekend or some personal playing time with family and friends. This partnership is a great one, but it makes me wonder, why are other holidays in my calendar lacking a companion sport? Well, to right this wrong, let me offer a few possible pairings that could make sports a bigger and better part of your holiday traditions. Continue Reading

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New team and a new year

Posted on 25 October 2006 by Nicole Larson

The men’s lacrosse team is ready to get down to business, and this time they’re serious. After a misfortunate incident involving Public Safety and after the suspension of their season last year, the guys are back and stronger than ever, making a conscious effort to promote the team in a positive light, and help others through service work in the process.Last year, the lacrosse team developed a bad reputation as a party-affiliated club after a hazing scandal in the program swept the campus. The remainder of their season was terminated after a few meetings that were held last fall. Word got out about the less than flattering situation, and other news sources, such as The Journal Sentinel and WTMJ4, decided to pick up the story, too. With all the poor publicity for the club, one would think the men would be discouraged, but instead they turned the negative into a positive and are now stronger than ever.

“We became organized,” said Andy Hunt, vice president of the club, who has been an important figure in getting the club back on its feet and changing the way it operated. After the scandal in fall 2005, the club got together and decided to elect new officers and start working toward a better goal for the 2006-2007 season.

“It was hard initially to step into those roles,” explained senior captain and president Ben White, “but the work ethic and character [of the team] is phenomenal.” Both White and Hunt believe it was the hard work of the team that helped put the shattered pieces back together and brought the team up to where it is now. “Everyone was willing to do anything for the team,” White said.

It shows. Just this fall, the club has already played in tournaments and even hosted home games. Although the current record is 2-5, the team’s new attitude proves that a team is about more than statistics.

An example of the hard work and genuine desire to improve is the community service the team does together. There was no community service requirement included in the club’s probation, but the men get together and do it anyway, giving to the less fortunate because they are passionate about helping others and bonding as a team simultaneously. This weekend, the team will be playing in a tournament in which all tournament fees will be donated to the American Cancer Society. This is just one way the club has given back however.

The newly elected officers also held an anti-hazing workshop at the beginning of this season. They organized the event and were able to get nationally recognized speakers to attend. It lasted five hours, and it was open to any club that wanted to attend. When asked why they wllowed other clubs to join the workshop, Hunt said, “We wanted to make sure this kind of thing wouldn’t happen to anyone else.”

Another new aspect of the team is that whenever they have group outings, no member is allowed to consume alcohol. “We are a completely dry team,” explained Hunt. “Even the guys of legal age don’t drink while we’re out as a team.”

They thought it might be difficult to promote the team this season and to recruit new freshmen initially. However, the worry soon subsided. Most new players were somewhat aware of what happened the previous year due to the anti-hazing workshop, and team officers, who were happy to meet with new freshmen and their parents during campus preview. The situation from last season did not stifle their desire to join the club.

“It didn’t factor into my decision,” said freshman midfielder Michael Condon. The overall attitude of the team is positive and they are looking ahead with high aspirations. “The team is building good chemistry,” he further explained, and there are no signs of slowing down.

Currently, the men are looking forward to the rest of the fall season and the upcoming spring season. The team will begin again in late February or early March, and they have high expectations.

“We are excited to be Marquette Lacrosse again,” commented White, who explained that last spring they played on a team called the Trombones, which was not affiliated with the school. “It’s nice to put on a jersey that means something.”

They also expressed gratitude toward the loyal fans of the team. Earlier this fall, the club hosted a parents’ weekend, which included two home games. They gave away 100 free t-shirts that sported a Marquette Lacrosse logo. “We are appreciative of the fans,” said Hunt. “It’s been a long, hard road, and we’re proud of the team.”

The Marquette men’s lacrosse team has been inspiring so far this season, and can be expected to continue improving. Coming back from a devastating controversy, they managed to turn around the entire club with the support of fans and the hard work of each player in a single year. It’s only fair to say that they have earned back the trust of the parents, faculty and the fans. We can all look forward to an amazing spring season.

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Sports writers predict future of MU Men’s Basketball team

Posted on 25 October 2006 by Peter Worth

Peter Worth
Overall, this season will be a year of continued improvement. Now that we’ve made a stamp on the Big East, more teams will be gunning for us, which means we need to step up our game in conference road games. The 3-5 mark from last year on the road in Big East play will not cut it if we want to have a chance for the conference title. I see a big win at home against underrated Syracuse while suffering a defeat to a talented DePaul team on the road. I anticipate a Sweet 16 finish this year.

Paul Nadolski
College basketball is here again, along with another exciting season of Marquette basketball. This year’s Marquette team is looking pretty good at the start of this season.
In order for this team to have any success, they will need a good presence down low. This should be accomplished with Ousmane Barro and Mike Kinsella, both of whom are over 6’10.”
Best win: Marquette, heavy underdogs against Connecticut, will do the unthinkable. Marquette takes it to Connecticut, and wins 76-68.
Worst loss: Marquette, feeling really good about their win over Connecticut, drops their next game to West Virginia in the classic trap game 73-65.
Big East Tournament: Connecticut gets some revenge and beats Marquette in the championship game. Season MVP: Look out for Jerel McNeal. He is going to have a huge year, improving upon what was a great freshman year. There will be no sophomore slump.
Overall Record: 24-10, including their wins to get into the Sweet 16. Marquette makes it to the Sweet 16, but then gets eliminated.

Cassie Kowaleski
The best point guard in the Big East, Dominic James, will lead this team to a 27-win season. An easy non-conference schedule will send MU into Big East play with just one loss. In conference play, MU will hit some bumps on the road at Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Georgetown and DePaul (losing 4 of the 5), but will not suffer a loss on their home court this season. They will lose one other game they have no business losing, but they’ll temper this with a Big East tourney win before embarking on a solid NCAA tourney run to the Sweet 16 – unless, of course, James gets hurt.

Justin Phillips
Health is one of two keys to success for the Marquette men’s basketball team this upcoming year. Dominic James, Wes Matthews and Jerel McNeal all need to be healthy because this could be Marquette’s best chance to take the Big East. Early success in the College Basketball Experience Championship tournament will also be the key. If Marquette can pull off early season wins against Duke or Texas Tech, that should give them the necessary boost to carry throughout the season. I am predicting 26-6, a shot at the Big East title and a chance to play in the Sweet 16.

Brian Henry
The great John Wooden once said, “I’ll take talent over experience any day of the week.” This trend that is dominating college basketball, will carry Marquette to success this year. So the team will boast a line up that features little senior contribution, who cares? And what about the questions at the forward position? It’s solid guard play that will carry Marquette through the post season. Marquette will win 26 games, and score a share of the Big East Title. This success will propel the team to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tourney, where they’ll lose a heartbreaker. Take that to the bank.

Patrick Kurish
The Golden Eagles look strong and will rebound well from last year’s early exit from the tournament. They will undoubtedly walk all over their non-conference opponents and should go 12-0 in those games, but mistakes happen so they will go no worse than 11-1. As for their slated 16 games with their Big East foes, I have them going a very respectable 12-4, pulling off big wins at home against Villanova and Syracuse. Postseason play will be good for the Golden Eagles. They will advance to the Big East tournament semi-finals and will have a Sweet 16 finish in the big dance come March.

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Something to cheer about

Posted on 25 October 2006 by Luke Fuller

Like the news, it is too easy to focus on the negative in the sports world. While thinking of a topic for this column, I kept coming back to the Miami-FIU brawl. Since the incident, I see a clip of it every time I turn on my TV. It is a shame that this story is getting so much attention when there are a lot of positive stories to focus on instead. Last year, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Gulf Coast and forced the Saints on the road for their entire season. This year, the Saints have given their fans something to cheer about. Through some clever scheduling work and the Saints’ strong commitment to play their home games in the Superdome, the team is currently undefeated at home after three games and will play a full contingent of eight home games this year at the Superdome.

Just getting the Saints to play games in New Orleans might have been enough good news, but they have also been downright good. The Saints are 5-1, and coming off their bye week, they sit atop the NFC South, a division that is supposed to be one of the strongest in the NFL. Drew Brees has been amazing in his first year, leading an impressive offense that has made the Saints an exciting team even for the non-fan to cheer about.

Even though Reggie Bush has not been quite as much of a game breaker as he is on Madden 2007, he has been a perfect example of how NFL stars should act. After falling to the second overall pick back in April, it would have been easy for Bush to complain about going to New Orleans. Instead, after a brief contract holdout, Bush came to practice and has acted with the utmost respect for the Saints organization. He has not whined about having to split playing time with Deuce McAllister, or opened his mouth to the media to voice any petty complaints. Instead, he has made the best of the situation, allowing the team to utilize him as a decoy and a receiver. After week six of the NFL season, Bush had 38 receptions, tying him for the third most in the NFL. More importantly, Bush has made headlines and turned heads by pledging to donate 25 percent of his share from the sale of his jersey this year.

Bush has also teamed with Diet Pepsi to raise money to rebuild New Orleans. Diet Pepsi has pledged to donate money to Rebuilding Together for every yard Bush gains. Diet Pepsi and Bush have also combined to auction items on e-Bay to further aid rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region. This effort is collectively called “Yard by Yard,” and donations can be made through their Web page, www.yardbyyard.com.

Saints games have also been exciting. (Many of us recall the Packers-Saints game that ended in dramatic fashion.) Five of the Saints’ six games have been determined by seven or fewer points. The Saints are 4-1 over that span with their only loss being against the Carolina Panthers, a potential Superbowl contender.

I bet it feels good to be a Saints fan these days; I cannot wait to try it out in week eight.

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Time to reLAX: the rebirth of Marquette Lacrosse

Posted on 11 October 2006 by Brian Sara

Less than a year after being stripped of club sport status, the Marquette lacrosse team has impressively turned the wheel of fortune back in their favor. Thanks to back-to-back exciting home wins in September, the club managed to waste no time regaining the respect of the university community.After beating St. Norbert College and Loyola University-Chicago at Valley Fields, the excitement among players and fans alike finally began to return. According to the lacrosse club’s president, Ben White, “the fan turnout [that] weekend shows that Marquette isn’t focusing on any past negative actions this club has experienced.”

Promising freshmen, including Mike Condon, responsible for the game-winning score in overtime against Loyola, have also helped the image of the once-beleaguered club. White agreed, saying that “the returning guys are incredibly excited for our large freshman class; they have a lot of potential.”

The club’s determination off the field has been equally admirable to their success upon it. Practices, usually three days of on-field, fully-padded scrimmages and drill sets, keep the team in competitive form while their once-weekly classroom sessions hone various technical skills. Perhaps even more impressive was the team’s decision to organize a hazing-prevention meeting. On Sept. 20th, the team hosted such a conference to inform and steer Marquette’s other club sports teams – from baseball to ultimate frisbee – clear of the consequences of hazing.

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What it would take to bring D-1 football back

Posted on 11 October 2006 by Cassie Kowaleski

It’s Saturday morning, you wake up early and you’re not even upset. Why? It is a necessity, and not even a sacrifice, to get up early to enjoy hours of tailgating before Marquette’s football game against top rival Notre Dame. Campus is buzzing; the stadium is going to be overflowing. College Gameday is televising their pre-game show live in front of the multimillion-dollar stadium. Alumni have flown in from across the country to witness this ultimate event for Catholic school bragging rights. A sea of blue and gold has just erupted in the loudest chants of “Ring Out Ahoya” and “We Are Marquette” you’ve ever heard because Lee Corso has just donned the Golden Eagle mascot head. Let’s not forget we are No. 1 and they are No. 2. Obviously this dream is unrealistic right now with no varsity football team at Marquette, but could it ever become realistic?This past May, Old Dominion University, a commuter school in eastern Virginia, announced it will field a football team in 2009 for the first time since 1940. It’s only been 46 years since Marquette gave up football. Could we resurrect our program? Marquette officials have said the answer is “no” since the day the sport was dropped. Would anything change their minds? “It would take a minimum of a $100 million gift to Marquette’s endowment fund to even consider reinstating intercollegiate football,” the Rev. Robert A. Wild said. Let’s start fundraising!

Why the high price? For starters, we would be adding more than a football program. Due to Title IX, a statute that requires women be given the same participation opportunities as men, Associate Athletic Director Mike Broeker said, “We’d also have to add large squad-sized women’s teams such as crew and swimming, creating even more expense, not to mention the increased pressure the addition of 100-plus student-athletes would put on critical areas such as academic support, athletic training and strength and conditioning.” In truth, the women’s sports expenses would be negligible compared to the costs of a Division 1-A football squad.

The first obvious expense would be a football stadium. These are so pricy that teams easily spend $200 million on them. (Ohio State spent a similar amount just for renovations.) Old Dominion was lucky to already have one it can use for comparatively minimal renovation costs. It is possible to have the stadium built without a dime from the university. Oklahoma State has been able to get the majority of their facilities donated from one man, T. Boone Pickens, who according to Sports Illustrated, recently donated $165 million to allow OSU to touch up their stadium and practice field while still having $50 million leftover to use toward building a new indoor practice facility. Pickens is a bit of an exception. There are other ways to raise the money.

Minnesota recently broke ground on a 50,000-seat, $248 million football stadium. They were able to sell the naming rights for the stadium to TCF Bank for $35 million, which will mean the Golden Gophers will play at TCF Bank Stadium for 25 years. The name will be renegotiated after those 25 years, most likely at a much higher price.

To achieve Division 1-A status Marquette would need to average 17,000 fans per year. (This seems like an easily attainable goal; the university averages almost 14,000 for basketball.) This would require building a 20,000- to 30,000-seat stadium. Such a stadium would likely cost anywhere between $50 million and $70 million. Marquette is able to offset much of the cost of their academic buildings by selling naming rights, so there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to raise $15 million or more by selling naming rights for a stadium.

According to the Milwaukee Business Journal there is discussion of building a 20,000-seat soccer stadium in downtown Milwaukee in hopes of attracting an MLS team. It is possible for soccer and football to share a stadium, and with MU alum Martin Greenberg spearheading the effort, this is a partnership Marquette could utilize to save money on the stadium. This would also mean that the city and taxpayers could cover some of the cost. Loans are another option, and often people are willing to donate them without interest. Stadium revenues from ticket sales and memorabilia can help pay for the loans.

Once the stadium problem is solved, there is still the need for other facilities, such as a practice field. Valley Fields would work for a short time, but even that would need a suitable locker room built nearby. The university either would need to completely overhaul the three-year-old academic support, strength and conditioning and training rooms – because the ones recently built in the Al McGuire center were not made to accommodate a football team – or build a whole new facility for football. A new building makes the most sense as the football staff would also need their own offices, including a large film room with all the standard tape-editing equipment and another room for watching film. The University of Kansas recently announced plans to build a facility very similar to what Marquette would require, and it will cost the Jayhawks $31 million. A few wealthy alumni could pull a T. Boone Pickens and cover much of this cost.

This would basically set up the program as far as facilities are concerned. There are still the annual costs of fielding and staffing a team. Scholarships for the players, of which the NCAA allows no more than 85, would cost Marquette roughly $3.5 million per season, and doesn’t even account for the additional 85 female scholarships. At San Diego State University, which boasts one of the smallest football budgets in the country, the football coaches make $1.1 million per year. The table below shows a few miscellaneous costs accrued during the season.

San Diego State, again one of the smaller budgets in the country, spends on average $5 million to $6 million per season. Washington University, one of the higher budgets, spends $15 million a season on football. All of the Big 12 schools spend somewhere between $6.8 million and $15.3 million a year. The Rev. Wild’s requested endowment of $100 million is wise, because at a 5 percent pay-out every year (which is typical for a university) it would supply $5 million for the football team’s annual budget. This endowment alone will not be enough, but with ticket sales and Big East profit sharing revenue (about $2.5 million) the university could be almost assured that there would be enough money to cover the gridiron expenses every year. For alumni and students who want football, the ball has been placed in our court. It’s easy to complain about how Marquette doesn’t have a football team. If we’re serious about getting one, we need to step up, become agents of change and like another football agent, Jerry McGuire, show them the money.

Sources: Marquette University Athletic Department, Sports Illustrated magazine, Milwaukee Business Journal, interview with university President Rev. Robert Wild

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