By: Kelly Muskat – Senior, Entrepeneurship, Finance
As you should be aware, the women’s basketball team competed in the Elite Eight for the first time in our school’s history. Andrea Hoover was named a finalist for the Women’s Basktball College Association (WBCA) All-America team and broke the record for “most career 3-pointers made.” Ally Malott scored 28 points against second-seeded Kentucky on its home floor to advance the women’s team to its first Sweet Sixteen game in program history.
This was a fairy tale for the University of Dayton and our community: The underdog defeats the favorite, on its own court, during the heat of March Madness action. However, after attending the “send-off” for the women’s team as they departed for the Sweet Sixteen game, I was dumbfounded. Where was the support from Red Scare and the student body?
When the men’s basketball team is in contention, Red Scare sends frequent emails, but there were only a few emails about the women’s basketball team in my inbox.
There is a great disparity between the support for the two teams. Students fill the seats behind the hoop and in the 400 section of the stadium for men’s games. Of the six women’s games I attended this year, I witnessed roughly 20 other students present at each game to cheer on the Flyers. This is frustrating and disheartening.
According to Red Scare’s mission, “We are a group of enthusiastic UD students united in a common cause: to do whatever it takes to show UD pride through support of the University of Dayton’s athletics. Our school is known for its community, and each athletic event provides us with an opportunity to display that unity for all to see.” It seems the mission has been lost. If each athletic event provides an opportunity for support, then why did I not see any Red Scare executive at any of the women’s basketball games?
It seems as though the entire student body has missed many opportunities to fulfill this mission. Let’s remember when the men faced the Providence College Friars. After a win to advance to the Round of 32, students filled the streets in celebration. The excitement echoed across the campus and few students missed the action. Yet, few can take the time for the women’s team.
The send-off party for the Flyers’ first Sweet Sixteen game in history was another opportunity for celebration. I attended the send-off party and expected to see hundreds of students and Red Scare members waiting to wish the women’s team good luck. When I arrived, roughly 35 students were there. As I waited for the women’s team to board the bus, I saw a Red Scare executive board member walk by the send-off party with her head down. Has Red Scare become just another thing to put on a resume?
When my roommates and I gathered around to watch the first round of the women’s tournament, we realized there was no way to watch the game. I wish we were able to support our women’s team by more than just watching a score update in the corner of the Duke game. If viewing was available online, Red Scare did not make the student body aware of this opportunity. This begs the question: Does a sports team have to be a men’s team to receive support and viewership?
The chasm between support for men and women’s sports goes beyond my point today. Our games have been about a team that has left everything on the court, while our school left them alone on the street.
At the time of writing, the University of Dayton’s Department of Athletics shows continued support for the team. The site is booming with highlights of the game wins over the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, with previews of the game against the University of Connecticut.
Meanwhile, what is Red Scare doing?
No email was sent to students regarding the send-off. Red Scare has failed to mention anything about the above achievements. Red Scare has missed out on a great opportunity to celebrate athletes that have made history for Dayton athletics. This is a huge moment for the program, being the fifth win in the NCAA tournament in program history. As a student-athlete, I have never been so disappointed in Red Scare and the student body.