The kings of football exercised their reign over the university by canceling the first two days of classes this semester. Excitement soared across social media and students sighed in relief over the extended holiday.
But amid the student elation, some professors and faculty are wondering when athletics became more important than academics. Football is an enjoyable sport for many in Louisiana, but the diligence and success of the football team is not an excuse to delay education.
The game doesn’t start until 7 p.m. on Monday. Many students would have either finished all or most of their classes in time to drive to New Orleans and attend the game. Had the game been at noon, a cancellation would have made more sense.
Tuesday’s cancellation makes even less sense. If students stay for the entire game and have to deal with fatigue and New Orleans traffic, that’s a personal choice. Students should take into account the consequences of their decisions. Understandably they’ll be tired, but many students stay up all night anyway. Morning grogginess is normal at any university.
Students who wanted to miss class to attend the game have always had the option to do so. But students who planned on going to class are now missing out on instruction time to accommodate the absence of others. Although attendance would have been low, these student would have arrived to their classes on time and ready to learn. These eager students were not considered, and many others weren’t either.
The purpose of college is to introduce people to adulthood through higher education and independence. College is a time for students to learn how to balance things and how to prioritize. The decision to cancel two days of class to accommodate students going to the game interfered with learning this skill. But helping students prioritize is clearly not the University’s priority.
Time is another issue with canceling classes. Professors struggle to finish coursework before final examinations, and students are often stressed, feeling unprepared. Getting things done in time is a problem even when classes meet everyday of the semester. Losing one class period can throw off professors, and many of them now have to readjust their schedules.
Instead of canceling class for everyone, the University should have allowed classes to proceed to stay on schedule. The time allotment for class should be followed. No one wants to add days to make up for time lost, so the time given should be respected and used.
Students spend years at the University to earn a degree. Any extracurriculars, like leisure activities, should be scheduled around instruction time.
It’s also important to note that classes weren’t canceled when the basketball team traveled to Virginia on a Wednesday last semester. Football has clearly taken over, becoming the University’s shining light. This sport has given many men the chance to create new lives for themselves and the determination and effort of the football team is admirable. But this is not the NFL. We need to return to our academic roots.
The University is a flagship institute of higher education. Scholars from all 50 states and several countries come here to learn. The abundance of revenue poured into the athletic department may make this fact unclear, but everyone is here to either educate or be educated.
The football team has made history this season and everyone should be proud that the University has yet another accomplishment to look back on. But classes, the main reason why majority of the students chose to come to the University, should not have been canceled to benefit students traveling to the football game. It’s time to learn, not cheer.
Erin Stephens is a 19-year-old journalism sophomore from Brusly, Louisiana.