By Tyler Alley
Here’s the thing about any governing body: you know something it did something wrong when people start talking about it.
For a sports editor to write about Student Senate, the group had to step somewhere it should not have. Well, it did.
The Student Senate voted Thursday to disband the Baylor Bear Pit. If you don’t know, the Bear Pit is a student organization created in 2005 to support and cheer for the men’s basketball team. The Bear Pit is the students standing courtside at both ends of the floor with the gold and black striped jerseys doing the various chants during home games (and even some away games in Austin and College Station).
In a year when just about every Baylor sport has found success, we want to disband the Bear Pit? We want to take away the best group of fans men’s basketball — maybe any Baylor sport — has? How does that make sense?
How do you not even consult the organization or students around campus before eliminating the group? Maybe students wanted to see it go, and maybe they didn’t. We’ll never know, because Student Senate didn’t ask.
Sophomore Senator Grant Senter said “for too long we have been bullied and intimidated by [the Bear Pit].”
Unless Bear Pit president Benjamin Friedman has a gang of hooligans running around dunking non-members’ heads in toilets until they pay the entry fee and join, I do not see how the Bear Pit is bullying or intimidating anyone.
I would not even say the Bear Pit bullies or intimidates players on the opposing team. They just show up and cheer on the team.
There is also a belief that if the Bear Pit was disbanded, other students would fill in the gap.
Listen, I would love to see students fill the stands without necessarily being members of a group. I would love to see students wear the same shirts like other fans do, stay loud and excited the entire game — as well as actually stay the entire game — and learn all the chants.
I would also like an Aston Martin, my very own island and my tuition to be zero. And if you’ve read some of the columns the Lariat has printed from sports writers and fans who complain about the attendance at the Ferrell Center, you might think my three wishes are more likely to happen than fans filling in for the Bear Pit.
We are not Duke. We are not Kentucky or Kansas. Our fans do not fill the stands and chant together like some of these other schools, and until that day comes, we need the Bear Pit to even cause slight harassment towards our opponents.
Senter said the Bear Pit does not portray Baylor fans in a positive light and we do not want them representing our university.
Are you kidding? You know what the current representation of a Baylor fan is right now? Go to YouTube, search “Baylor fan” and take a look at the first video. How is the Bear Pit worse than that?
I’ve sat in front of the Bear Pit while covering men’s basketball games for the Lariat, and I don’t see a waste of money and space, or a negative portrayal of Baylor Nation. I see passionate fans who are involved in the game and the team. Head Scott Drew was quoted as saying the Bear Pit is worth 10 points every game for Baylor.
Having said all this, if the Bear Pit is not disbanded and gets to keep its traditions and ways, the members cannot take it for granted. The Bear Pit needs to fill its section during every single game and make its presence known to other teams in the nation.
With student government elections today and tomorrow, I encourage the next internal vice president, Brian Kim, to foster better communication between Student Senate and students and organizations on campus.
Hopefully this bill does not go all the way through and the Bear Pit sticks around. If not, we might as well get rid of the Courtside Players too. I mean, it’s not fair that they get to sit courtside simply because they are able to play instruments, is it?
Tyler Alley is a senior journalism major from Humble and is the Lariat’s sports editor.