Anticipation looms over campus as summer transitions into fall. Students and fans have waited months, not for colder weather, or new classes and exams, but for football season —the perfect start to the school year. For many students, faculty and fans, football is what makes fall semester bearable as summer break fades into our memories, replaced by foam fingers, third down jumps and greasy food at halftime. But if you’re anything like me, the thrill of swimming in a disgustingly expensive stadium of fans for hours, filled with the hype and chants, has faded. And maybe you think I’d relate better to a grouchy elderly woman chasing kids off her lawn with a cane than I would with an average college student, but to me, game days have become much more trouble than they’re worth.
I’m not opposed to having a good time at a football game once in a while. They are undoubtedly a great source of entertainment, and some people genuinely find pleasure in being season ticket holders who commit a number of days every week to memorizing names, tracking stats, getting drunk on cheap beer and cheering with the utmost purpose and passion until their voices give out. Unfortunately, I don’t see the appeal. I realize that many of these fans are coming from generations of loyalty and dedication to their NCAA teams. And who am I to question the significance of tradition? But getting beer drunk at a tailgate, which would likely be the only way I could tolerate the obnoxiousness of such dedicated team spirit, isn’t exactly my cup of tea. Such circumstances would likely elicit more eye rolls than high fives from me.
It’s now time to address the most prominent source of disdain for associates of the U who aren’t swimming to their ears in wealth, prestige or exaggerated football spirit: parking on game days. Parking on a regular class day is, at this point, almost impossible. We have steady influxes of new student populations every year, and the university has failed to accommodate those rising numbers in terms of parking spaces. So on game day, when stalls shift from student accessible to “Crimson Club Members Only,” you can imagine how frustrating it is to get yourself to class — even more so than usual. As if we aren’t regularly late enough trying to find a spot permissible by virtue of our 300-600 dollar parking passes when the campus is overflowing with inhabitants. In fact, game day parking is so poorly planned that many students and faculty members alike take those days off and don’t even bother to navigate through campus.
I’m not writing this expecting that the U’s administrators will hear the cries of disapproval in the many students’ opinions I represent. After all, money talks. We may feel that we’re being robbed blind by the university through things like hiked tuition, questionable student “success fees” and outrageous parking permit costs, but to such a massive educational institution, our concerns are apparently worth pennies. It is ironic coming from an institution seemingly hell bent on preaching the importance of education, fairness, and morality in society, that it would be so quick to dismiss its apparently malleable foundations for good sacrificed on the altar of football. But when wealthy alumni want the parking spots you paid for, you’ll be swept aside without a second thought because what’s more important than your right to the education that emptied your bank account? The answer is more money for an institution seeking to ring every associate, students and all, dry of any financial means they have access to. Enjoy your “free” MUSS shirt and go Utes.