Sports Column: Celebration long overdue for Concordia basketball

Published 3:11 pm Saturday, March 11, 2017

Last Saturday, the Concordia College Alabama basketball teams accomplished a feat so rare that it’s only been done a handful of times across any level of athletics, let alone the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.

Both Hornets’ basketball teams — men and women — won USCAA national championships, becoming the first USCAA school to do that. It’s difficult to win any national title, but to win two in the same sport on the same day is a show of dominance that is rarely matched across history.

At the NCAA level, the highest level of college athletics, it’s only been done three times. The Connecticut men and women have done it twice in Division I and Central Missouri State accomplished it at the Division II level in 1984. It’s never been done in basketball at the NAIA level.

Email newsletter signup

Given the historic nature of what the teams accomplished, I anticipated most of the campus would be eagerly awaiting their arrival last Sunday. Concordia planned to have students meet them that afternoon, but the team arrived sooner than expected and from what I understand, no one was there to greet the team.

The college has since changed its plans to honor the team three times. First, a celebration was scheduled for this upcoming Wednesday and then it was changed to Monday.

Now, it sounds as if any celebration will be waiting until after mid-terms, which are next week. Spring break is the following week and Concordia has a lot of students from outside Selma, so understandably many of those students wouldn’t be in town if a celebration was held then.

I understand that the college is trying to get this right and wants to make sure it doesn’t interfere with academics.

Concordia wants to find a proper way to honor both teams and they also want to make sure the timing is right, but this is supposed to be the easy part.

Something should’ve already been planned to honor these students, who worked hard this year to bring back two national championships to Selma. We shouldn’t still be talking about the celebration because it should’ve already been held by now.

To be honest, this is a school that hasn’t had a lot of warm, fuzzy memories on the athletics side in the last five years. Outside of women’s basketball, there hasn’t been a lot of success.

There was one day two years ago when for a couple of hours, it was communicated to students that all athletics were cancelled, only for that decision to be reversed that afternoon. The football program, which had overcome a bus fire where most of its equipment was lost in 2013, was officially shut down in 2015.

The soccer program made the USCAA National Championship Tournament in 2015 but the college struggled to find the funding to send the team up there. Eventually, it did and the team got to go.

Now, the college has a chance to rejoice and celebrate an oustanding accomplishment.

Announce a celebration, invite the community and do it before it’s too late. Most championship celebrations take place within a day or two of the championship being won. It would be wrong and unfair to the students to wait an entire month, or longer, to do it.