September 27, 2002

The Unwanted Vacation: Taking Seven Weeks Out of the Year

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To all Cornell Daily Sun readers,

I regret to inform you that we will not be publishing The Sun next week. In order to comply with a new decree handed down from the Ivy League presidents, all student newspapers must suspend publication for seven one-week intervals throughout the academic year.

Yes, even though we editors willingly gave away our lives to The Sun, the Ivy League Presidents believe that they must intercede into our extracurricular activities so that we don’t pigeonhole ourselves into one activity. After all, we’re only Ivy League students, we don’t have the ability to schedule our time out of class.

Actually, there’s a rumor that the presidents might broaden this decree to affect all non-academic activities. The student assembly, undergraduate teaching assistants, student employees, and club members will have to schedule seven weeks into their schedules when they will not be productive. Now, many of you will say that many of these groups are already unproductive, but they will be barred from maintaining any semblance of productivity during these timeframes also.

If you didn’t know already, the Ivy League Presidents have already imposed the so-called seven-week rule on athletic teams after a Princeton professor published a book about the expansion of collegiate football’s season from the fall to year round. (You mean the football players are asked to stay in shape through the offseason while practicing with their buddies on the team? God forbid). I wonder what they would have said if they looked at the schedule of Ivy League newspaper editors. Yikes!

Yet, James L. Shulman and William G. Bowen, authors of the book, “The Game of Life,” alleged that Ivy League athletes incur severe tribulations caused by their involvement in athletics.

Like what? Last time I looked at the athletic campus, those athletes didn’t look like they were undergoing any severe ordeals. In fact, they look a lot more satisfied than a bunch of the other organizations on East Hill. Maybe Joe Soccer-Player isn’t able to go to every meeting of the chess club or Suzy Gymnast can’t sing in the chorus because away meets conflict with concerts. It’s called making choices — a skill that we will all need in later life.

Actually, the last time I went up to the athletic campus, the vice president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Commission, Kevin Rooney, said that the group was working on trying to reverse the decision. Either Shulman and Bowen’s argument didn’t convince him, or he actually wants to play football through the academic year.

It’s not like these athletes are coerced into playing their respective sports. It’s not as if these optional and captain’s practices the presidents are trying to save them from are giving the players a scholarship or grade benefits. Even though I consider myself a skeptic, I know that the Cornell athletes are playing their respective sports because they love them.

Besides, there is this little thing called respect, and it doesn’t just circulate within conferences. Sure, we can look down upon Patriot League teams in terms of job placement or average SAT score, but it’s really not fair to deprive the Ancient Eight of weeks of practice and then expect competitive games against non-conference opponents.

As for me, I’m worried that this weeks’ break may give the Syracuse Daily Orange an edge in the competition for best college newspaper in the state.

This seven-week rule is one more step in isolating the Ivy League schools from all other schools in the country. Want to do something that would really benefit students? Give us seven weeks free of classes. That would decrease stress, build school spirit and allow us to be well-rounded. After all, the real world demands that we know more practical things than Jean-Louis David’s influence in the French Revolution and the effect of inserting microchips into moths’ brains.

So this is The Cornell Daily Sun’s sports staff signing off. We’ll be back to report the outcome of the Cornell-Towson football game on Oct. 7. If anyone needs to get in touch with me, I’ll be in Collegetown, finally taking advantage of turning 21. After all, I didn’t join The Sun to work on other extracurricular activities.

Enjoy homecoming,

Amanda Angel

Sun Sports Editor

Archived article by Amanda Angel