Earlier in the semester I wrote an article for The Defender about St. Michael’s varsity teams being at a major disadvantage due to the lack of athletic scholarships given. St. Michael’s offers 20 athletic scholarships, which are divided equally between the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
In the Northeast-10 conference, 12 of the 16 schools give at least 50 scholarships to their varsity programs. St. Michael’s athletes play against top players who are talented enough to earn money towards their tuition, but aren’t rewarded themselves. In the article, I noted that St. Michael’s sports teams overall record was 93-212-12 (53-117-7 in NE-10 play) from fall of 2009 to spring of 2010.
With the weather finally beginning to prove there is a spring season in Vermont, and the school year coming to a close, St. Michael’s varsity programs have compiled a record of 112-186-8 (72-116-8) since fall 2010. Although this is nothing to brag about, it shows signs of improvement.
As of March 29, St. Michael’s still sat in second-to-last place in the Northeast-10 President’s Cup standings, an award given to the school with the most on-field success. But second-to-last isn’t dead last.
After winter break, I saw a school spirit during the basketball playoffs that I had yet to see during my three years here. The men’s team making it to the Northeast-10 quarterfinals in head coach Michael Harding’s first year on campus was a great surprise.
But even that didn’t compare to the excitement of the women’s basketball team winning its first home playoff game in 19 years.
Also worth noting is the women’s tennis team finishing with a 13-5 record and the men’s lacrosse team is heading to the playoffs with a 9-5 record.
It seems as though it will never happen, but one can’t help but think how much success these teams might have if they were able to give out scholarships.
Even awarding each team one or two scholarships would help coaches draw better recruits. More teams might have records over .500, and St. Michael’s would be able to compete for the top of the President’s Cup standings rather than struggling to get out of the bottom. Then maybe we could see some more of that school spirit for other teams.