Balde: The limelight is evading the most successful programs at CSU

Mamadou Balde

At any university, there are a multitude of athletic programs.

Some of these programs may have had better success than others, yet may have received little-to-no recognition from the fan base or the university itself. This continues to be the case at Colorado State University where football and men’s basketball are the sports who receive the most attention from not only the university but the fans as well.

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In the past three years under head coach Mike Bobo, the CSU football team has finished with a 7-6 record including a loss in three consecutive bowl games. Despite this record, the fans still flock to newly-named Canvas Stadium to watch the Rams play at a brand new stadium they built following a 7-6 record.

During that same three-year span, CSU’s volleyball team has reached the NCAA tournament in consecutive seasons. In the 2017-2018 season, the volleyball team advanced to the second round of the tournament, beating the University of Michigan on their way, before losing to Stanford, the No. 4 ranked team in the nation at the time.

The women’s basketball team has suffered the same ignorance, despite their dominant run under coach Ryun Williams. The run includes one of the most successful seasons in the schools history in 2015-2016 when Williams led the program to a 31-2 record. The season featured a perfect 18-0 conference record, as well as a Mountain West tournament championship. 

The trend of ignoring fellow sports is revealed most in the case of the track and field programs of CSU. 

The CSU track and field team is arguably the most consistent and successful athletic program at CSU. The team has multiple banners that hang from the rafters of Moby Arena with a bundle coming in recent years. In 2016, both the men’s and women’s indoor track team won the Mountain West Championships. In 2017, Mostafa Hassan won his first NCAA Championship in shot put and is graduating as a four-time Mountain West champion.

Even with all of this success from the track team, they competed the 2018 outdoor season without a track due to renovations that began on June 12; a track that is still not fully completed over 6 months after the original scheduled completion date which had been moved from October to May.

The situation with the track is not the first problem CSU athletics has had with recognition of other sports. Earlier this year, CSU’s softball team protested inequality with their facilities at a football spring practice after one of their games got snowed-out. The softball team was protesting that they had no place to practice after being pushed out by the football team’s practice even though they were not in season. At the time of the protest, the softball team had a 25-19 record and were shooting for an appearance in the NCAA regionals. The protest has been widely unheard, with significant changes failing to reveal themselves.

There seems to be a disconnect in college programs where success does not equate to glory. Most programs at CSU fly under the radar and are hidden in the shadow formed by more popular sports like football and basketball. Spectators are the ones who can solve the recognition problem in the athletics department. It is expected that football and basketball will always receive the most attention due to the high amounts of action involved in the sport; however, other sports that have proved their greatness at CSU should be shown similar or more recognition than sports that have been on a steady decline or stagnant in its progress.

Collegian sports reporter Mamadou Balde can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @mamadoubalde62.