Though the University of Connecticut is quite correctly referred to as the basketball capital of the world, with unmatched dominance in men’s and women’s basketball, UConn is a dominant force across multiple NCAA sports. This week, the UConn field hockey and women’s soccer teams will continue competition in the NCAA championships, with the field hockey team competing in the Final Four, after having been the 2013 and 2014 National Champions. Though often lacking the attention and monetary gain associated with basketball or football, these athletes deserve praise for their truly remarkable achievements.
It is understandable why the university and athletics department would dedicate more resources and promotion to the most profitable, or potentially-profitable sports and teams here in Storrs. However, the university must never let efforts toward promotion and profit overshadow the enormous achievement of all UConn sports.
The university’s new Athletic Director, David Benedict has been an active and vocal user of social media platforms, promoting and praising all of UConn’s teams throughout his tenure. Benedict has so far done a tremendous job at communicating his boundless enthusiasm for all UConn sports, though he must ensure that his energy translates into greater appreciation for these teams.
With the university’s immediate or near-term chances at Power Five membership lost with the Big 12’s decision to forgo expansion, his attention, and that of his office must be directed toward creating championship teams across all sports, and supporting those teams which have already reached the pinnacle of their sport.
While we must direct praise toward these tremendous student-athletes, AD Benedict has been quick to highlight the incredible coaching staff, placing particular attention on field hockey coach, Nancy Stevens. Though UConn has placed a great deal of attention and resources in building the Auriemma, Ollie and Diaco brands, coaches like Stevens, a two-time NCAA champion, deserve our praise. Once again, it is within reason to place greater attention on those teams with a wide audience and which are capable of bringing in revenue to support other teams. However, though this has been a disappointing year for UConn football, and has seen a rocky start for the men’s basketball team, we owe it to these consistently-dominant teams to recognize their achievements.