Additions of track, rugby could help give WU athletics a boost

Josh Rouse

Josh Rouse

Frankly, I’m a little upset.

No, it has nothing to do with the fact that Ron Prince got fired… Ok, it has a little bit to do with that. It has nothing to do with the fact that Washburn’s best chance at making a bowl game now appears to be the Toilet Water Bowl, or that with Kirk Hinrich being injured I have no reason to watch the NBA.

What really shakes me to the core is a realization I made this week: Washburn needs more sports. It’s as simple as that. What we offer athletically is similar to a two-year Christian College: All you get is the basics.

Now, I’m thankful for the teams that we have, and we have talented athletes to participate on those teams. However, there are many talented athletes already on campus that could provide even more excitement. Cross country and track & field are the first sports that I think need to be added to our repertoire. The reason these sports trump the others is simple: these are the two sports that the MIAA features that we do not participate in.

Now, these next few sports are more traditional sports that I think the MIAA needs to consider adding: bowling, swimming, rugby and hockey. Bowling would be a fantastic addition, especially for Washburn. We have several fantastic bowlers on campus already (for proof, stop by Westridge Lanes tomorrow morning at 11:15 and watch my bowling class dominate the lanes) and the many high schools across the state now bolster bowling squads, so recruiting is not a problem. It may seem like a silly idea to some, but take a look at some of the PBA bowling talent coming out of Wichita.

Swimming is another sport that makes sense for us, simply because we have a nice big pool on campus that is rarely used. This is another sport that could benefit from the high school recruiting across the state.

Rugby is a popular sport, believe it or not, in Topeka. It’s like football for hard-asses. I have a hunch that this is one of those sports where “If you build it, they will come.”

Rounding out the second tier, hockey seems like the least likely choice. However, it is also a choice that we are well-equipped for. With the Kansas Expocentre right down the road from campus, I see no reason that two hockey teams cannot inhabit one arena. After all, the Expo has had its share of hockey teams (RIP Scarecrows and Tarantulas).

For one reason or another, I doubt we will ever see any of these teams on campus. Even if the MIAA added these sports to their repertoire, Washburn likely wouldn’t add them. However, they would all be able to do something that Washburn’s administration is apparently unable to do: attract students to Washburn.

The final group of sports are all rather unorthodox athletics in the Western culture that could be huge in a campus setting. The great thing about these sports is that we have plenty of students on campus already who are superhuman at these events: table tennis, world ball, ultimate Frisbee, competitive bass fishing, skeet shooting, beer pong, quarters, poker and find the saltine.