How popular are varsity sports amongst McMaster students?
McMaster sports are back, but does the student body care?
Varsity sports have been around for a long time. At McMaster University, sports have been around since 1889, when the university used to be located in Toronto. Mac’s first varsity game was played between a group of alumni from the Toronto Baptist College and Woodstock college, competing in a match of soccer. Over time, the university developed its variety of sports offered and by 1897, McMaster made all athletics and other sport related activities a duty of the central executive committee.
McMaster University athletes’ names — Marauders — came from a former student, Bill Cline, who suggested the nickname for the men's basketball team and had his suggestion published by the Silhouette afterward.
Where do the Marauders stand now, after a whole year of inactivity? How popular are they with the general student population within McMaster? This is a question that can be posed as the new season slowly starts and fans return to the stands. Already, the tickets for the homecoming weekend football game against the Waterloo Warriors are sold out, but this does not necessarily represent the attitudes towards the Marauders and all sports teams of the student body.
In the days leading up to this publication, a survey was taken around campus and on Reddit to determine what the general student population think of the Marauders and whether they keep up with the games in general.
The following results were collected on campus, based on 50 answers from students selected at random.
Do you keep up with any varsity sports?
When asked about this question, it was evident that most of the students seemed uninterested. After 50 people were interviewed regarding this matter, 84% expressed their disinterest, while 16% mentioned that they do occasionally or commonly keep up with the varsity teams at McMaster.
Evidently, the popularity of varsity sports within the student population is not of great magnitude and the campus poll was not the only one to prove this consensus.
McMaster Reddit Poll
Although Reddit does not represent the student population as a whole, the McMaster Sub-Reddit is an internet page that has over 25,000 students, alumni and professors. Recently, a poll was conducted to get an even clearer picture of how popular McMaster varsity sports are among the students.
An identical question was posed to the Sub-Reddit: Do you keep up with McMaster varsity sports?
Although the campus poll did not show a significant popularity in terms of varsity sports, the Reddit poll showed a greater level of disinterest in varsity sports than the previous poll. Out of 277 votes recorded, only five stated that they follow the competitive leagues while a whopping 245 said no.
These polls clearly show that there is not a large interest in varsity sports among Mac students. After a long break without any university sports, it may have been expected. However, these are also a prompt for change. They signify a lack of students' knowledge about the sporting events going on around them and it would be beneficial for the Marauders to instead believe that Mac students are interested in varsity games and cheering them on.
When speaking to Catherine Zheng, a second-year computer engineering student regarding sports, she mentioned that her love for sports and willingness to follow the varsity scene is largely affected by her school workload and sometimes lack of information.
“I feel like there are many people out there that would really like to keep up or even spectate varsity sports, but the amount of university workload generally prevents people like me from having the time to do so,” said Zheng.
When asked about the effect COVID-19 had on her interest in varsity sports, Zheng mentioned that it didn't particularly diminish its appeal to her, but felt like many of her friends completely forgot about the sporting events associated at McMaster.
“I think that COVID-19 didn't really have an effect on my interest in varsity sports. I have always been a fan of school teams, especially football. Obviously, last year there were no activities to follow but even now I feel like a year of inactivity made many people forget that such things are back to normal now,” explained Zheng.
She also described how there is sometimes a lack of information about McMaster sports.
“I do feel like that at times there is not much to know about varsity sports. For example, the McMaster Instagram page barely posts anything regarding these activities, which I think doesn't inform students enough,” said Zheng.
It is evident that the Marauders are not of major interest among the student population. Although information about varsity games may not be readily available on social media, students have the opportunity to keep up with all the varsity sports through the Marauders website.