For UND Women’s Hockey, Actions Speak Louder Than Signatures
As you know, The University of North Dakota cut its women's hockey team, and now people are fighting to save it.
A petition was created on Change.org to try and convince UND to keep the program alive. As of this writing, the petition has 3,243 signatures.
Additionally, on the petition page it states:
The University of North Dakota has one of the most storied legacies in college hockey. For the last several years North Dakota's women's hockey team has been moving up in conference and national rankings, finishing inside the nations top twenty women's teams consistently…
Here's the problem though. UND is not cutting the program because it isn't 'storied enough' or because it isn't 'good enough.' North Dakota doesn't want to cut the program. It feels that is has to cut it due to budgetary reasons.
The more than 3,200 signatures the petition currently has, is nearly three times the average attendance at games.
Let's look at the numbers according to USCHO.com:
Now don't get me wrong. The attendances for UND men's and women's hockey is consistent with top hockey programs across the country. The attendance for both teams is among the top 5 in the NCAA every single year.
So compared to other schools, UND women's hockey fans do show up. But I am sure the women's hockey team would have preferred your support while they are playing their hearts out on the ice. Anywhere between 800 and 1,200 people in an arena that seats over 11,000 looks empty.
Certainly it is very easy to take five seconds and sign an online petition. But to have over 3,000 signatures (with likely much more on the way) isn't going to help much at this point.
Maybe fans should have actually gone to a game to prove to the school that keeping the team around is economically viable.
And of course there are other factors at play here. North Dakota is a public university and they are subject to other outside factors besides attendance, such as what legislators come up with budget wise in Bismarck.
But maybe if the team drew as many fans as it did signatures, we wouldn't be having this conversation.