While many college sports teams—and even some high school teams—have jumped on the #TakeAKnee bandwagon, a private Christian liberal arts college in Missouri has started its own protest. College of the Ozarks has introduced a “no pledge, no play” policy, meaning its sports teams will not play against schools whose athletes kneel during the national anthem.
College of the Ozarks President Jerry Davis believes there is “too much of an indifference toward the military in this country” and its “sacrifices for the rest of us.” The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics failed to offer a policy on how athletes should honor the national anthem, so the college enacted its own policy to advance the college’s patriotic goal.
“We just are not comfortable with that sort of thing going on here. We think it undermines the school and is a bad example to young people,” Davis said. “We think we are all Americans and everyone should respect the country and the flag — and of course we can deal with that what people believe to be problems in a different context.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the policy was put in place to prevent other teams from embarrassing the college during tournaments that it hosts. This would seem like a pragmatic motivation, but the news outlet fails to provide any quote from the school to corroborate it. The Chronicle also goes a step further to slander the school by suggesting that it doesn’t value racial diversity, pointing to its predominantly white student body.
What critics fail to acknowledge is that C of O’s uniqueness lies in its staunch patriotism—a trait that is all but absent in academia today. It is one of the school’s five core values, and they even have a “director of patriotic activities” to advance this key goal.
As such, it’s unsurprising that the college has added a new mandatory course to its curriculum, “Patriotic Education and Fitness.” The class covers military customs, American flag protocol, map reading, marksmanship, and more.
“We think in the culture there is a problem in the division between the 1 percent who serve in uniform and the 99 percent living the good life because someone else made a sacrifice in a military uniform,” Davis told Fox News. “Colleges should be more intentional about teaching young people about the military and such things as leadership and cooperation and teamwork, things the military does very well.”
As patriotism seems to have disappeared from campus life throughout the country, College of the Ozarks and its graduates remain a beacon of hope for a patriotic future.