The Bellarmine Knights basketball team is in the middle of some of it's greatest athletic success of recent years, and their No. 2 men's basketball team couldn't be playing any better. After a big past week defeating No. 20 Kentucky Wesleyan and No. 8 Southern Indiana, the Knights jumped from their No. 5 ranking to No. 2.
This is no surprise for a team with lots of talent and depth who are lead by old University of Louisville assistant Scott Davenport. The team had its first sell out since the early 1980s, and athletic director Scott Wiegandt and President Joseph McGowan decided it is time for a change.
The athletic director hired and paid a professional "Zooperstar" to play the mascot for their biggest two games of the season. This decision in turn ousted the two students who have been the mascot over the past year and a half, sidelining them until further notice.
The Big Picture
At first this may seem like a meaningless act, however, what does this really say about your morals and your school's character?
You hire students to be your mascot when your team struggles a 17-11 season, yet when your team makes it into the top 10, you outsource the job to a professional. The same students who were the mascot at all the athletic home games over the past years even when there weren't even a hundred fans in the stands.
What would be more fun than being the mascot in front of a sellout crowd?
Where is the school pride, and sense of belonging? What kind of message does that send? "You're doing a good job until people actually see what you are doing." You did great last season when we missed the post season, but now that we sell out games, you're not doing very well at all."
In hard economic times as well, do division II athletic departments really have the funds to pay students to be the mascot on top of the high costs for a "Zooperstar?" Why don't they outsource and get the Dallas Cheerleaders while they're at it?