Dr. Bowling announced on Wednesday, March 29, that the fifteen-year agreement with the Chicago Bears has come to an end.
The agreement was to last another five years.
“Our campus was meant to offer the team a chance to build on their skills so they can deliver the best NFL season possible,” Bowling explained. “However, given the steady decline of their performance over the years, both Olivet and the Bears came to an agreement that they might have better luck elsewhere.”
While the initial split is said to have been amicable, the continuing relationship with the state of Illinois may have been placed in to question.
Bowling went on to announce that a top NFL team would be taking their place on Olivet’s fields for the next fifteen years – the Green Bay Packers.
The rivalry between The Bears and Packers is one of the most famous in sports history, but the difference between the two has gotten a bit lopsided as of late. Take, for example, this past football season, in which the Packers achieved a 10-6 season record and missed out on their sixth Super Bowl appearance by only a touchdown. The Bears, on the other hand, had a 3-13 season record, placing them firmly near the bottom of the NFC’s final rankings.
Former Bears’ Quarterback Jay Cutler went on to tweet, “Olivet not only betrayed the Bears’, but the state of Illinois. Supporting the Cubs and the Packers? #Wrong #StopTheSwitch”
Packers’ Quarterback Aaron Rogers responded to Cutler saying, “You’re just salty because you only threw interceptions. #PackersRule #BearsDrool”
However, some student athletes point to Olivet’s own athletic performance in the past year as a reason for the shake-up.
“I mean, we just won our first national title for swimming,” junior swimmer April Fuller said. “And the men’s team has been in first for two years in a row now. And we support a football team who’s basically scraping the bottom? Something just doesn’t sit right there.”
Owen O’Connor, who swims for the men’s team, agrees. “The team’s been going majorly downhill for the past five years or so. For all we know, they might end up tied with the Cleveland Browns next season. I guess what it all comes down to is: do you want to be on the winner’s side or the loser’s?”
In spite of the Bears’ poor performance, some students are still unhappy to see them go, citing hometown pride as the reason.
“This year’s team definitely wasn’t the best Chicago’s ever had, but if we give up on them, it’s like we’re giving up a part of ourselves,” says Jane Barrett, a freshman and avid supporter of the team. “My whole family was upset when they found out. My dad even says that if they do this, it’ll be angering Walter Payton’s ghost. The whole university could be in trouble if that happens.”
Barrett began a petition against the switch, “Stop the Packers, Support the Bears,” on change.org in an effort to change the decision of the administration.
“We live in a democracy,” Barrett said. “This should translate over to the university. Our student body deserves to be heard and have a say.”
— Laura Bechtel, preparing for the Bears’ protest