C/O Yoohyun Park
The athletics department is failing to reciprocate the effort that the athletes put in and it’s time to hold them accountable.
What is the difference between American varsity sports and Canadian varsity sports? Simple: only one actually has a following. The quality of varsity sports and their following is greater in the United States. However, the onus to develop this quality and following is not on the athletes, but rather on the athletic departments at universities that promote their teams.
When it comes to promoting Canadian university sports, especially at McMaster University, there is a high level of neglect. Some sports get more coverage than others, but all the way through, it’s lacking. From two posts in the last four years about the highly successful golf team to outdated information and missing headshots for the baseball team to completely empty individual bios for all McMaster athletes, the effort from McMaster athletics has been subpar to say the least.
According to Justice Allin, a member of McMaster’s football team, the situation has been getting better over the time he has spent with the team, but there is still far to go.
There aren’t enough posts, there aren’t enough articles, the content is lacking and the athletes aren’t happy about it.
Allin, like many of his peers on the team, is hoping to pursue a career in football after graduation, meaning athlete promotion is critical. When compared to similar schools, such as the University of Toronto, McMaster’s athletics site is quite poor and could potentially be hurting his chances as a result of their lack of coverage, outdated information, and more. With the football team being one of the most covered teams in the school, one can only imagine the negative effect this holds on athletes in other sports also hoping to pursue their sport further.
On a positive note, Allin noted that social media coverage has improved and that they must continue on the current trend. He also suggested that although it isn’t at the level it should be at, it isn’t as dead as it once was.
“They’re on the rise now with their content, at least on Instagram and social media, but I don’t want to see it die down. It has to only improve . . . You definitely need to get the students more involved and more aware of what things are going on,” explained Allin.
When asked about the level of media now, Allin discussed the recent successes of the baseball team, who finished with a silver medal in the Ontario University Athletics provincial championship.
“I had no idea that the McMaster Marauders had a baseball team and then I found out that they placed second in the OUA. And that’s because of social media — otherwise I never would’ve known,” said Allin.
Despite all the success the team had been having over the last few years, Allin wasn’t even aware that they existed. The baseball team is just one of many that have gotten lost in the lack of media surrounding McMaster sports.
Like the baseball team, the golf team hasn’t seen a large share of publicity either. Experienced golfer and computer engineering student, Kavith Ranchagoda spoke about his recent golfing success and how it felt to finally play again.
“We did really well at the provincial tournament, tying in third place out of about ten teams. It felt good being back on the fields again after a long COVID break as it felt like it was going on forever,” explained Ranchagoda
However, Ranchagoda did shed light on some disadvantages and setbacks that the golfing team has to go through.
When asked about transport, Ranchagoda said that while the athletic department does offer a chance for team transport, it is very hefty and does not suit their small group of students.
“The university does offer their own option for transport through their contract, but it is cost prohibitive for us to utilize it,” explained Ranchagoda.
Even though the golf season is well underway, the roster page on the Marauders website is still showing a “404” error when one tries accessing it. Additionally, apart from an article published on Oct. 16 about the provincial tournament, the last article the athletic department published on the golf varsity team was in 2017.
The golf team is a prime example of what many teams have become: a sport lost in a lack of media promotion. Aside from the most highly posted sports (football, soccer), it’s become difficult for students to remain up to date with McMaster sports, even those who try.
Despite the poor track record, there is always a chance to improve, and now It’s time for McMaster athletics to step up and put their athletes in the spotlight.