The Compass Friday, March 8, 1996 13
ECSU’S noif-revenue sport#face uphill
battle for fans, money and recognition
by Tonia Polston
Coaches Goss, Taylor, Cullens and
Godwin have gotten used to seeing less
than full capacity crowds at their vol
leyball, cross country, baseball, and
If they are lucky, a dozen people
might show up to cheer the Vikings to
Many students say they are on cam
pus a year or longer before they are even
aware the University has these teams.
"When I came here, I never knew we
had those teams," said Matt Yelverton,
a senior from Garner, NC. "I've never
in all my years here, ever attended any
of the games. They're not as popular
or as exciting as football or basketball."
Welcome to the world of non-rev-
Although sports like cross coimtry
and volleyball do not receive the same
press coverage as the money-making
sports. Dr. Edward McLean, ECSU's
athletic director, insists they are just as
important. The problem is the media
just "don't feel obligated" to cover
them, says McLean.
"Their main focus is on basketball,
football and baseball," he said. "Based
on what the public wants."
Although the athletic department has
tried to generate student support by
airing volleyball games on the radio
and offering free admission, most stu
dents still fail to attend games.
"It's unfortimate that students don't
attend the games," said Vanessa Tay
lor, coach of the Lady Vikings basket
ball and cross country teams. "They're
not aware of the excitement and excit
ing play that happens at these games."
Taylor believes the athletic depart
ment needs more support from com
muter students. "It's an area that has
not been tapped," she added.
McLean says the athletic department
could do more to support non-revenue
sports on campus.
"A lot of people fail to realize that
we don't receive a budget to operate
intercollegiate athletics," he said. "We
use student athletic fees. When enroll
ment declines, as it has in the past two
years, the available money declines."
The athletic department is trying to
strengthen non-revenue sports by seek
ing money from outside sources, said
"We are attempting all-out fvmd-rais-
ing in the athletic department," he said.
"This is in it infant stages, and we are
working out the bugs. Hopefully, we
will have it down in the next two to
The department plants to launch a
"sponsorship program," in which lo
cal businesses are asked to support Vi
Restaurants and Coca Cola are on
the list of proposed list.
To further strengthen the programs,
McLean said the athletic department
will try to put schedules out on time,
have more player information avail
able to interest students, and attempt
to air more information on the air.
"If students learn interesting facts
about players, they might be more in
terested in attending a game," said Kirk
Campbell, ECSU's sports information
Campbell said WRVS plans more
"human interest stories" on individuals
who play particular sports. "For ex
ample, why do they play when there's
no monetary gain in scholarships?"
McLean admits it will be an uphill
battle to get students to attend non
Andre Grady, a junior from Wilming
ton, NC, said that knowing schedules
would help generate student interest.
"I've attended some volleyball and
softball games," he said. "I knew
people on the teams, and they asked
me to come out and support them."
Added Grady: "These sports seem
to be left out in the cold compared to
basketball and football."
Lady Vikes lose first
round of CIAA: 79-68
by Tonia Polston
On Monday Feb. 26 Cinderella's
dream crashed to a halt when the Lady
Vikings lost their first round game to
St. Augustine's College at the CIAA
tournament in Winston-Salem. The fi
nal score was ECSU 68—St. Aug. 79.
LaSonia Stephenson scored 13 points
with 11 rebounds, Tanya Burston
scored 25 points, and freshman
Danielle Virgil had a season high of 10
points with three rebounds.
"I was proud of the way the girls
played," said Coach Vanessa Taylor.
"We went in as underdogs. At the half
we were only down by two. Then it
went back and forth. They got a couple
of rebounds, and we got down by six.
And we were never able to return.
"Next year we will bring back expe
rience," added Taylor. "The team be
gan to understand they have to be in
tense every night and not wait imtil
tournament time to be focused."
Throughout this season the Lady
Vikes had trouble coming together as a
team, in spite of this year's solid re
cruiting class. In November they trav
eled to two tournaments in Savannah,
G.A. and Washington, D.C. The Savan
nah tournament started the first game
of the year.
"For the first game of the season, we
were not able to settle down until the
last ten minutes of the game," said Tay
lor. "And by then the deficit had be
come too steep to overcome."
Then the Lady Vikes took an early
exit at the UDC Tournament losing both
of their games. Their second loss was
to UDC, then in the top 20 of Division
II play. The team struggled throughout
the season, averaging about 30 turn
overs per game.
"We're playing hard," said power for
ward Tanya Burston, a junior college
transfer. "We're not putting all our tal
ents together as a unit."
"We did not expect it to take so long
to gel as a team," said Monique Boyce,
a freshman forward.
However, the team showed off their
talents in the last home game against
St. Paul's. Though the Lady Vikes had
taken an early lead, the game came
down to the last few minutes. The team
remained focused on their goal. The
defense committed forced turnovers
which resulted in scoring opportuni
ties. Quickly the team gained the ad
vantage they had slowly lost.
"The girls played with a lot of inten
sity the last three minutes," said Coach
Taylor. "We were able to finish shots
from turnovers resulting from our
The final score was 63-62, Lady Vi
kings on top.
LasonIa Stephenson’s basket helped spur the Lady Vikings to a buzzer beater
victory against St. Paul's College Feb. 21. ^