Aaron Sant-Miller | Tuesday, December 4, 2012
To the surprise of some, on Sunday it was announced the BCS student ticket lottery would be open to Saint Mary’s students.
Without a doubt, this will rekindle the long-standing debate regarding the relationship between Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. Saint Mary’s is, and always will be, a part of the Notre Dame family. As the topic heats up, I would urge everyone to stay on the topic of ticket sales and keep their arguments away from the value of the relationship between the two schools. This isn’t about the relationship, or even Saint Mary’s in particular. To me, this is about the connection between the Irish and their student body.
For two years, I covered sports teams at both schools. Saint Mary’s teams are not the same as Notre Dame teams. Notre Dame teams are not the same as Saint Mary’s teams. Athletes and coaches do not consider them to be the same. Rather, they attribute their successes to their separate schools. Both academic institutions have separate athletic teams to represent each individual school, with which comes a unique connection to each corresponding student body. There is a sacred connection between collegiate athletes and the students they directly represent.
To many students at this University, attending the National Championship isn’t just an opportunity to watch some of the best athletes in the country compete for an NCAA title. For many, this is an opportunity to watch their friends, classmates and peers strive for excellence. They are all current students at the University of Notre Dame. No other fan or supporter, even alumni, can claim that exact connection with the Fighting Irish.
When those elite athletes take the field, they represent the Notre Dame student body as well. Thus, it is only fair the students being represented by the team have a special advantage in watching that very team represent them.
The student lottery gives a select group of applicants an advantage over all other fans to attend the game and support the team. Methods like this are a time-honored tradition, giving the students of the University represented a higher chance of attending the game. Due to the unique connection Notre Dame students have with the team, this is an advantage that needs to be protected.
Conversely, Notre Dame students cannot claim to feel that same connection to any other athletic team, including teams from Saint Mary’s. All fans of Notre Dame deserve a chance to go to the game, especially the Saint Mary’s students who have followed the team so closely this year. Yet, for all the aforementioned reasons, in some form or another, it’s the students of Notre Dame who deserve precedence over other applicants in the application process.