As I prepare to the leave the university in just a few days, I took a step back and started to think about the state of Ball State sports.

Sure, there’s plenty to be negative about. The football team is in a state of Lembo — excuse me, limbo — after plummeting from the mountaintop of 2008. The athletics department is mired in scandal and a series of dismissals over the past few seasons. The entire program is overseen by leadership that is questionable at best.

Yet, I can’t help but consider the positives. The softball team leads the Mid-American Conference a year after losing its best player. Steve Shondell, a “local rock star” as associate athletic director Matt Wolfert said, has reinvigorated the women’s volleyball program. Several other teams are on the cusp of greatness as well.

It would be great to be the Boise State of football or the Butler of basketball, but the barriers to entry are so high that it sometimes feels impossible. What if the university doubled down on its support of some of these smaller sports?

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