Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Neller Sticks it to Collegian

A couple of weeks ago, the Hillsdale Collegian ran a whiney editorial asking all Varsity athletes to form their own intramural sports leagues because they are too good and "sucking the fun" out of the IM program.

That is one thing, but the author or authors then tie somehow a lack of student support for sports at Hillsdale as a backlash for dominating intramurals.

"Who knows, if varsity athletes stepped away from the IM world, maybe it would encourage the rest of us to spend more time going to support our fine Charger athletes at home events—rather than chasing them up and down the basketball court when they’re already beating us non-varsity athletes by 25 points."

Senior tailback Brett Neller fired back this week with a great rebuttal, stressing the points that struck me when I read the initial editorial. Read it here.

A. This only isolates the varsity athlete more from the rest of the student body than he or she already is.
B. I thought the whole message of Hillsdale College was to expect the same from everyone, to rise to a challenge and not receive special treatment.

Some of Brett's quotes:

On equality of expectations:
"Your proposal suggests there be separate leagues for student athletes and for other students. Your reasoning is that you feel you don’t match up with our “superior” athletic ability. Have you ever heard of a challenge, or do you just roll over and play dead all the time?"

"Many of the students here at Hillsdale were in the top of their classes in high school. I propose that athletes be allowed to take a different curriculum because some of us find the classes to be difficult, considering our time constraints and the fatigue we battle daily as we choose to pick up our books rather than rest.

Deep down, however, athletes would not want an easier curriculum because we are up for the challenge and we do not think we deserve special privileges."

On segregation:
As a student athlete, my frustration lies deeper than my response to the editorial written on IM basketball. My frustration arises from the segregation we have at this school between students and student athletes. We should be one and the same, but we are currently not.

Instead of trying to put us in a different IM league, accept us and try to get to know us. We all pay the same tuition and take the same classes."

"IM basketball provides one of the few chances at this school for student athletes to interact with non-athletes."

On apathetic student support
"Because we win in IM basketball is no reason not to cheer for us on a game day. On those Saturday home football games, put down that book and slide that board game back under the bed: Come out and support your fellow classmates, your friends, your student athletes who are giving it their all to represent you. Come tailgate and socialize at the sports events and have fun.

You do not know how much it means to Hillsdale student-athletes to see classmates in the stands cheering our names. The little support we currently get means a lot to us all.

Hopefully we can increase that support. We need to bridge the island student-athletes find themselves on. When this happens, Hillsdale College will be a much more enjoyable place."

Read Neller's complete editorial here. Jeers for Collegian IM Proposal.

I will address this issue and more in next month's edition of "The Charger Comment" podcast now online at

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