COMMENTARY: Football shouldn’t define success


Apparently, what goes on between the uprights matters the most in determining a school’s athletic success.

Unfortunately for Canes fans, after the football team failed to earn a bowl bid for the first time in 10 years with a 5-7 record, the sports media and rival schools alike aren’t giving bragging rights to the University of Miami for the 2007-08 year.

It’s a shame, really. If everyone were to pay just a little more attention to the less popular sports, they’d find quite a few winners out there.

The baseball team, which has won four national championships since 1982, can’t even fill Mark Light Field despite its No. 1 ranking. With a lineup that boasts power and consistency, it seems the boys of summer score more in one weekend than the football team did all season.

This weekend the team faces its ultimate test: a three-game series in Tallahassee against the second-ranked Florida State Seminoles.

In another big-time college sport, the basketball team, led by junior Jack McClinton, exceeded expectations to make it to the second round of the NCAA tournament against second seed Texas. Even so, many games failed to sell out, a disappointment in the basketball-rich territory of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The women’s soccer team made it to the NCAA tournament for just the second time in the program’s short 10-year history. Did you know?

Freshman Brittney Steinbruch not only scored 16 goals and 35 points to earn the honor of ACC Freshman of the Year, but she was also invited to join the U.S. Under-20 team this spring, and she participated in an international tournament with fellow freshman Brittany Macdonald.

A new calendar year in 2008 brought even greater success.

Sophomores Reuben Ross and Brittany Viola each won a national championship last month in diving. So did track star Krista Simkins in the indoor 400-meter. Tim Harris is smashing school records left and right. And as we speak, both the nationally ranked men’s and women’s tennis teams are preparing for the ACC championship this weekend.

Junior Daniel Vallverdu is ranked fifth while his sister Laura is 20th. Youth and international talent take the courts at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center, which sees minimal spectators at each home match.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love football. The problem arises nationally when ESPN starts airing spring football practices when it could cover any other sport actually in season. None of the three games between the top two teams in college baseball is set to air on TV this weekend.

Will the series even be featured on SportsCenter? Probably not.

All I ask is that the next time you call yourself a sports fan, remember that you’re implying your love and support for more than one sport.

Christina De Nicola may be contacted at