There’s no getting around it: Drexel University is a diverse institution. With over 200 student organizations, a highly esteemed faculty, a nationally renowned co-op program and newly renovated facilities popping up all across campus, Drexel has quite a lot to be proud of. But there’s one thing we don’t have that serves as a constant sore spot for current Drexel students and alumni alike: a football team.
Back when Drexel was first established, the Dragons, Drexel’s football team, were a part of the Middle Atlantic Conference, playing against such teams as Lehigh University and Bucknell University. However, in 1973, then-President William H. Hagerty and then-Sports Information Director Doug Verb abruptly announced that the University’s Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees had decided to discontinue the football program with a “unanimous recommendation” from the Faculty-Student Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics. Needless to say, the Drexel community was less than pleased — some even downright angry.
That was 38 years ago. Recently, Drexel Athletics held a ceremony April 2 at which they honored the rarely-mentioned Drexel football program by erecting a memorial statue at Vidas Field at 43rd and Powelton streets. Invited to this ceremony were alumni of the program, many of whom haven’t returned to campus since their graduation due to bitterness regarding the sudden and shocking actions of Drexel’s athletics department and administration.
Though presented with only the best of intentions, the memorial to Drexel’s football program is seen by the Editorial Board — and many other students and alumni — as a subtle message to the Drexel community that the football program will not ever be returning to our campus. It appears as though the hope is that students will feel less inclined to continuously attempt to challenge the University in an effort to bring back the program.
What this Editorial Board is trying to get across is not the fact that Drexel should revive a long since forgotten football program. We acknowledge the fact that Drexel has other priorities, like campus expansion and research, that take precedence over rebuilding a sports team. On the contrary, our intention is to defend the creativity and drive of the University’s community. Here at Drexel, students are encouraged to be proactive and motivated to create a positive change in society, yet efforts by the student body to revive the football program, even in club form, have seemingly been met with resistance. We feel as though Drexel should allow for the cultivation of student productivity; if a student displays the passion and drive to revive a dead program, Drexel should not put up the metaphorical red tape. Instead, the University should assist and cultivate the initiative that has pushed such a student to take on an undoubtedly daunting task. Drexel students are constantly reminded to aim high and go the extra mile to achieve our goals; therefore, it is necessary to have an administration that will do what it can to support its students in any way possible.