The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Letter from the Editor: DePaul basketball needs momentum

Yù Yù Blue

Sports bring people together. In 2016, I fell in love with sports when the 372,000-resident city of Cleveland filled with 1.3 million people to celebrate their Cleveland Cavaliers when they won the NBA championship. It was the first time since the 1960s that any of the city’s major teams won a championship and the impact on the city economically, socially and influentially was unmatched. Possibly more than anything, sports are about empowering communities.

DePaul has struggled with building a culture of community around its athletics programs. The teams aren’t what they used to be and students don’t seem to care, unlike other schools in a Big East conference that lives and breathes basketball. 

Name, image and likeness (NIL) may be a new way to bridge the gap, as athletes are now able to market their brand to their fellow students and members of the community, but this has not been overtly successful across the Big East, as bigger schools like Michigan and Purdue bring in more eyeballs and sponsorship revenue, which attract athletes. 

The selling point to potential Big East athletes is culture, and DePaul is behind.

Director of Athletics and Vice President DeWayne Peevy expressed his views on improving the culture around athletics. He told me in September his main goal is getting high-level athletes to choose DePaul. Peevy’s strategies include connecting with alumni, especially in the Lincoln Park community, improving facilities and increasing attendance at Wintrust Arena.

A common denominator for achieving these goals is public support, and Peevy continues to invest in this. He is trying to dispel misconceptions about the role of athletics in DePaul’s success, asserting that the $60 million athletics facility in the works is the investment needed to accelerate profits coming from the department.

There is undoubtedly potential: A state-of-the-art basketball arena, DePaul’s historical success in basketball, the university’s number of students enrolled compared to other Big East schools and Chicago’s reputation as a thriving sports community. In addition, DePaul’s student media provides space to celebrate the program’s wins and holds it to account when things don’t go as planned, as seen in The DePaulia’s basketball issues dating back to the 1970s.

After Cleveland won their championship in 2016, all I asked for during the holidays was a new Cavaliers jersey or poster for my bedroom or a trip to the city itself. When you get your fans to support your sports program, good things will happen. The only thing worse than a losing culture is an indifferent one.

The DePaulia’s Basketball Issue details new initiatives at Wintrust Arena aimed at attendance boosts, what happened in the offseason with both teams, features for several new players and a comprehensive history of the women’s basketball program as they enter their 50th season.

It is up to these teams to prove to DePaul’s stakeholders that the Blue Demons are worth fighting for.

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