We’re Only Division III

By Jeff Weisinger, Founding Editor | 

Four words, one constant attitude, continuous opportunities that are being missed out.

“We’re only Division III.”

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When the Baruch Bearcats and the Brooklyn College Bulldogs tip off for the CUNYAC basketball championship games Friday night – both the men’s and the women’s team for the record – not only will it mark the first time in 35 years that both the men’s and women’s team from the same schools will face each other for the CUNYAC title, but will also mark another year where City failed to reach even the semifinals of the CUNYAC tournament, which is, by the way, hosted by CCNY.

Just think about that for a second, let it sink in.  CCNY hosts the CUNYAC Championships, and rightfully so considering Nat Holman Gymnasium is the biggest gym within CUNY, and CCNY basketball is nowhere near playing even a single game in CUNY’s Final Four.

The last time CCNY found themselves playing at City in the CUNYAC basketball championships was in 2007, when the men’s team got as far to the semifinals, losing to eventual champion York 65-62.  It was also the first year that CCNY began hosting the CUNYAC championships since 2001.

Since City started hosting the CUNYAC tournament, Staten Island, Brooklyn and York have won it all twice, Medgar Evers (yes, THAT Medgar Evers) won once along with John Jay.  Minus the 2007 attempt at a championship run, CCNY was nowhere to be found in CUNYAC’s final four.

But it’s only Division III, not like it matters that much, right?

I guess actually putting in the effort and trying to win (instead of playing not to lose) in Division III is like trying to be “that kid” in class.  You know that kid, who does the extra work, studies more than everyone else in the class, and, more times than not, usually gets the ‘A’ on their transcript after the semester.

In this case, not only are both Baruch and Brooklyn playing for the “only Division III” CUNYAC basketball championship, they’ve also both been featured in the New York Times and the games, as the entire CUNYAC tournament is, will be streamed on ESPN3, aka national coverage where, yes, even higher-division and even low-level pro scouts will be watching.

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This isn’t to say that the athletes don’t work hard or such.  However for City basketball, let alone the other struggling CCNY sports not named track, soccer or fencing, this “we’re only Division III” attitude has to go away.

Baruch and Brooklyn made it as far as they have because they get players who simply want to win.  It’s really that simple.  They don’t just try to, but they really want to.

Whether they’re in Division III or Division I, these players put these games on their backs and go out night in and night out, for all 40 minutes and go after it, whether they’re down by 15 at half, or up by 20.  In the end, it matters to them — a lot.

If the saying is true, and character is tested when adversity is pressed against it, then City basketball is the ultimate bandwagon fan: the guy who’s there when times are great and nowhere to be found during the struggle.

This isn’t to say that CCNY will never get there.  In fact, I really, really hope I get to see City in even just the semis before I leave this campus next year — or before any of the Class of 2016 and beyond leaves.

It’d be great to see City basketball, the college’s on-campus big-ticket sport do well, especially considering the success that both track teams, both soccer teams and the sudden rise of the Women’s Fencing team.  It would provide the athletic balance that City needs to keep athletics relevant here in Harlem.

It’d be great to actually find a reason to give a damn for once.

Then again, we’re only Division III.

 

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