In the early 1970s, a University of Montana group called the "Radical Student Coalition" was mighty proud of the fact it orchestrated student defunding the Montana Grizzly football team. "Heavy" and "Far out!" "Off the Pig(skin)!" "No more dollars for gratuitous acts of violence in Vietnam-era Missoula!"
Of course, Montana Grizzly football continued; the UM administration continued to fund the program, and a saner generation soon restored student funding. The Montana Griz became a NCAA 1-A powerhouse, with huge alumni support.
But kneejerk liberal anti-Footballism did not die out. My favorite liberal folktale is that, on Superbowl Sunday, acts of domestic violence against women increase exponentially. This fabrication still shows up as “fact” in leftist blogs and rants. Maybe they even teach about it in Evergreen State College Women’s Studies courses.
"Soccer good, football bad."
Now it appears the Radical Student Coalition has grown up, and some of them are running Western Washington University! Good grief. Cut the WWU Viking football program? A century-long WWU tradition? Say it ain’t so!
What about football Saturdays, pep rallies, tailgating, singing the Viking fight song, and those wonderful walks to and from the game on leafy Bellingham autumn afternoons? Football is a small but important part of the college experience for students and alums as well as the players.
But in academe, cutting a (losing) football program is, in the short run, an easy budget strategy. "Sure the students and alums will squawk," politically correct administrators think, "but the faculty will love it." And it’s true that many (not all) university administrators and faculty look askance at football; it is, after all, so darn "American."
But football-hating WWU administrators have made a big, big, big mistake. Watch out for Act Two: "Revenge of the Viking Alums."
Disclaimer: This writer is a CWU Wildcat; Western is and has always been our great and worthy rival. We are going to miss the annual Viking/Wildcat Fall match-up. Viking Football, RIP.