Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
With an impressive new stadium uniting students and bringing national attention, rumors about moving up from Division III to Division II are natural. Though no real statement has been made, students have already developed opinions on the hot topic. Should UMHB call in the moving vans, or hold off?
A lot of Crusaders shy away from the chance of change. They believe that though moving up to DII is something up for debate, it’s not a reality that should come to fruition anytime soon.
Academically, the university has a solid foundation for higher education with a Christian emphasis. Athletically, teams are succeeding on every field and court.
In this case, patience is key. A move up too soon will result in the school missing out on the successes it can enjoy now.
Although it would be great, the initial change to Division II would bring down the quality of athletics. The Cru wouldn’t dominate against the bigger, more experienced teams. 80-0 wins like those of the football team this year would no longer exist.
While better competition would be more fun for fans and athletes alike, a few years of losing seasons would follow a shift into a larger division. Students attending the university during this transition would miss out on UMHB’s dominating tradition.
The quality of the average student would probably go down too. Now, the school recruits outstanding individuals with merit, service and academics.
Division II schools receive more attention than DIII, and this could bring in more prospective students that aren’t necessarily looking for a faith-based education but just a prestigious college.
Though there are many disadvantages, there are also many promising advantages to advancing into DII.
One of the biggest, the ability to hand out academic scholarships, would strengthen the excellence of athletics. Having experienced sports teams would balance the increased competition from bigger schools.
Furthermore, teams would pay to play the Cru. This would bring in more funds for the sports programs. UMHB could rent out the stadium to other teams as well, providing additional opportunities to bring in some revenue. With the increase in money, scholarships of many kinds could be awarded.
More scholarships mean more people on campus. Some students are afraid the Christian environment would be compromised by moving up. Some have even gone so far as to stereotype athletes as partiers, but there may be no founding for this stereotype.
People with this viewpoint challenge Crusaders to adopt a viewpoint of love. While students question the integrity of future changes, it could be an opportunity to reach more people for Christ. Fear of a new demographic shouldn’t influence decision-making.
If students cared about the Christ-like atmosphere, they’d be more welcoming and willing to share it with others who normally might not have the opportunity.
On the other hand, the image of the school is portrayed through its athletic programs. If these sports start recruiting a lower quality person as far as character goes just to go DII, it could drastically change the integrity of what UMHB stands for.
All in all, UMHB is a university of faith-based discernment and Christ-focused academics. The class size, community and opportunity set the university apart from others. Whether or not the school decides to enter a larger division, it should strive to maintain its mission and goal.