The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Letter to the Editor: A response to APSA Sports article

To whom this may concern,

Unfortunately, Guilford’s student population continues to carry a skewed and unfortunate perception of what athletics mean to our institution. In last week’s Guilfordian article titled “APSA’s proposed structure puts sports on a pedestal” by Ian Penny, the Guilfordian staff has allowed yet another under-informed individual pass judgment onto this community.

In his article, Penny unfairly implies that athletics at Guilford only provide our community with social benefits.  Specifically, Penny states, “(C)ampus was abuzz in rain-drizzled activities,” and the homecoming football game was a “community-building experience more than anything else.”

What your staff writer fails to vocalize is that athletics at Guilford College are not just fun activities that he and his friends can attend on the weekends, but a revenue generator and powerful recruiting/retention tool — specifically for students of color.

At an institution of higher learning placing such paramount emphasis on cultivating community and diversity, many people do not recognize the obvious: a huge majority of Guilford’s traditional students of color are athletes.

In other words, without the athletic department’s active recruiting efforts, our diverse little Guilford bubble would not be so diverse after all. Without coaches and college officials working to recruit and retain student athletes of color, Guilford would be no more.

In short, our athletic director not only oversees athletic operations here on campus but is also responsible for a large piece of our diverse student population.

While I am not suggesting that maintaining or making cuts to our athletic department is unnecessary, to assume that our athletics and athletic officials at Guilford do not significantly contribute to our community is short-sighted at best and, more realistically, ignorant.

Moreover, we can talk finances. With over 250 student athletes, our athletic department generates quite a bit of tuition for this great institution year in and year out.

Take this year’s freshman class for example: football recruits alone comprise 60 or so of the upwards of 400 first-years scurrying between Binford and Milner. To suggest that athletics does not contribute to Guilford’s commitment towards diversity, inclusivity and excellence is simply not true.

Penny goes on to discuss how Guilford should, “(F)ace the facts: this is a small Division III school. It is not an athletic powerhouse by any means. Community is everything.”

In other words, a Guilfordian staff writer writing an article about how we as a community need to protect and uphold the departments we love blatantly disrespects and spits on a large portion of our traditional student body.

Guilford students and community members serve on the athletic teams that you so crudely dismissed as unimportant. We are important and we are here.

But if Guilford is in fact a community as you claim, should we not uphold all departments and demographics? Instead of pointing fingers at one another, shouldn’t we confront the people who have failed to provide for this community?

I recognize that Penny understands that athletics are important to many students, but by asking, “Should community be cut before athletics?” Mr. Penny is assuming that the athletic department is not part of the Guilford community.

I agree with Penny on the grounds that no department should be prioritized over another and that Guilford’s athletic department could have been assessed and scrutinized more than it was initially, but the article written was incredibly dismissive and hurtful in how assumptive it was about something that is at the heart of an incredibly significant portion of our community. It poses yet another instance of “us vs. them,” or “athletes and non-athletes.”

Please remember: athletes are also affected by cuts throughout campus, and we do not sleep in the locker room. Guilford athletics is not just an extracurricular activity, but a tool in which we retain a wide variety of students, just as the Multicultural Education Department, art department and CRRC do.

I challenge Mr. Penny, The Guilfordian and the rest of the student body to stand up for what they believe in without stepping on one another. Stand up together and hold each other up.

Is that not what teammates do?


A stupid, muscle-head, privileged, frustrated, incredibly invested team captain — Faris El-Ali

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