The Chronicle’s View: Winning: It’s a U kind of thing

It would be slightly more than a gross understatement to say that the U football team has had a good year.

With an impressive Bowl Conference Series ranking of No. 6, an even-more impressive regular-season record of 9-0 and a charismatic coach in Urban Meyer, the Utes have captured the hearts of sporting audiences nationwide. And now, with a likely birth in the Fiesta Bowl, the U football team has managed to garnish its fair share of publicity attention, as well.

While this attention is all well and good-undoubtedly, the U football team is deserving of whatever accolades it receives-it is also distracting in some ways from other equally impressive Ute athletic organizations.

This year, in addition to the football team, the U can boast an entire roster of outstanding athletes and athletic programs, all of whom are at or near the top of their games.

The U’s women’s soccer team just won its second straight Mountain West Conference title with an outstanding overtime tournament victory over San Diego State. Coach Rich Manning has turned around the program since he took over the reins three years ago. And with the consistently competitive play of his team members, Manning has helped forge the women’s soccer team into a force to be reckoned with.

The soccer team’s victory is made even more impressive by the fact that this is the second year in a row the team has been conference champions. And with an exiting level of play and an impressive offense, the team does not look to be slipping in the near future in terms of compete play.

The soccer team is not the only non-football U team with an impressive record.

The Utah volleyball team is undefeated in conference play this year, carrying a dominating 20-3 record overall. The team is currently ranked a commanding 17th in the nation, according to recent polls.

But, while the teams and their respective feats of excellence are indeed impressive, a disturbing trend is emerging in event attendance at the U: Everyone is going out to see the football team, and not enough people going out to see the other outstanding Ute athletes.

Why not? Meager attendance could be attributed to a lack of national sports attention for non-football sports. It could also be chalked up to an inherently American tendency to marginalize group sports like soccer and volleyball in favor of football and basketball-for whatever reason.

Regardless of the reasons why, the fact remains that a lack of focus is being paid to sporting teams at the U who are equally as deserving of attention as the football program. It’s not like these sports are uninteresting, either-go check out a volleyball game then tell us that it’s lacking action, or go see a soccer game and tell us it lacked elegance. The larger problem facing these teams is a general malaise and lack of knowledge. Simply put, students don’t care about soccer and volleyball games because they don’t always know how important they are, and they don’t know how important the games are because nobody talks about them.

There are those within respective arenas of sporting that know why peripheral sports like soccer and volleyball matter. Theirs is the example to be followed-a willingness to expand your sporting horizons to encompass something more exciting than the usual hoops and touchdowns. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.