Editorial: NCAA may be worthy investment

Maroon Staff

The 2011-12 men’s basketball season was the first 20-win season Loyola has had since 1948. We have become one of the most competitive basketball teams in the Southern States Athletic Conference within the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics(NAIA). Perhaps it is time to look beyond our current conference to a larger one – the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Though nothing is official yet, it looks like joining is being considered, and we at the Maroon would support the decision to join.

Joining the NCAA would require significant expenditure in order to expand our current host of athletic options and, accordingly, expand our facilities to accommodate these options. We would need a softball team and both male and female soccer teams. It is not something to be undertaken lightly and should be well thought out so as to avoid any budgeting problems. However, this expenditure would also be an investment, and one with almost certain returns.

Our current prominence in the SSAC does not spell victory in the NCAA. In fact, it is likely that we will suffer several years of major losses, as has almost every new team that has joined the NCAA. Spending a great deal of money in order to rake in heavy athletic losses does not seem like a worthy prospect. But these initial losses will be stepping-stones to a much larger athletic tradition at the school. It will expand the number of athletes who attend this school, as well the amount of money we take in from games, events and sports paraphernalia.

Joining the NCAA might also bring us closer to other Jesuit schools across the country, with whom we share a mission and tradition. After all, the SSAC is host only two Jesuit universities; Loyola and Spring Hill. By joining the NCAA, we will have the opportunity to play against – and have greater contact with – other schools in the Jesuit tradition.

Greater exposure to other schools in the Jesuit tradition would go hand-in-hand with greater exposure to the general public. Fresh from budget cuts resulting from us failing to meet a quota of new students, it would undoubtedly be a good thing to recruit more students to our school, and joining the NCAA would allow us to get our name out on a much larger arena of competitive athletics. This would, of course, attract more athletes to the school, but it would also serve to spread Loyola’s name to households across the country.

If we proceed carefully and plan for almost every contingency, joining the NCAA will prove to be a sound investment that will increase the number of students and the amount of money that comes into this campus, as well as reaffirming Loyola’s sense of community. Though it should be treated as a cautious investment, it is an altogether worthy one, both in practical terms and in terms of our identity and sense of community. We can’t predict what exactly will happen, but joining the NCAA offers a number of possible gains, all of them ultimately beneficial to Loyola in one way or another.