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The GW Hatchet

AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Staff Editorial: The athletic review should look at it all

With the University’s announcement that long-time athletic director Jack Kvancz will be stepping down in June, students also learned the University is creating a committee to conduct a review of GW athletics.

The committee will embark on the review and develop a strategic plan to guide the entire athletic department for many years. There are the salient issues on campus regarding athletics that the committee will surely evaluate, but this review will not be worthwhile unless it considers all of the sports-related problems that students face.

Administrators said the review will look at varsity, club and intramural teams. And this is a laudable effort, considering that athletics at GW means a great deal of things to many students.

Though they are considered student organizations, and receive Student Association funding, the 32 club sports teams also make up the largest chunk of the athletic community.

The University needs to devote more time to these organizations. Generally, club teams have suffered from a lack of facilities and a lack of basic amenities that should not be difficult for GW to provide. Team leaders go through a muddle of bureaucratic steps to ensure they get access to a field or court on campus. This process simply forces the teams off campus to play their games.

In addition to these issues, club sports don’t have the access to amenities such as trainers or physical therapists that so many athletes need. The review will probably find that not every team needs an individual trainer – and that would not be economically viable. With the help of the Club Sports Council, founded just last March, one trainer can be assigned to multiple teams.

With the help of the Club Sports Council’s unifying voice – one that will act on behalf of all of these independent organizations – hopefully the club teams will play a large role in the University’s review process. And they can work to address the underfunding and other issues the students involved with these teams face.

In planning for the rest of the athletics, the review also needs to consider the teams on the varsity level. Of course, students involved with these teams play a large role in athletics at GW, but many teams would say they too face problems with underfunding and poor facilities. For example, the varsity baseball team, uses a non-Metro accessible field for practice and is frequently subject to the schedules of other teams who use the public space. Members of the GW team have been drafted into the Major Leagues in the past and this team and others like it could be even more successful if the review and the resulting strategic plan address these concerns.

Naturally, the review will also need to examine the role of basketball, GW’s flagship sport. While the men’s and women’s basketball teams have the largest fan base, the two teams have not been performing up to par over the past 5 years. The women’s team is in the midst of the worst season in program history, and the men’s team, while doing well now, has struggled relative to the success the program enjoyed in the mid-2000s. Students care about the basketball program, and want to see the teams do well, so it would not be inappropriate for the committee to spend the bulk of its time reviewing this sport. Fans don’t know why the teams are not winning titles but the review should be able to provide a better understanding. That clarity would benefit the entire University.

GW is rarely considered an athletic school but the potential is there. The athletic department has seen successes and failures in the past few years but with a new strategic plan for all of the teams that takes into account what these organizations need, GW will enter a new era for athletics on campus.

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