Mention the phrase "College Bowl" around BYU and for most students it will conjure thoughts of football, quarterbacks and touchdowns.
But for a segment of the campus population, it translates into something quite different.College Bowl, a knowledge game with a longstanding tradition, has ended unceremoniously at BYU.
"It's the cost," explained Daniel Fairbanks, associate dean of Honors and General Education. "College Bowl was taking a significant portion of our budget.
"We made the decision to devote funds to support the central mission in the Honors program. That is to improve our course offering and help students complete their Honor thesis work."
To compound matters, there are a few thousand new freshmen in the Honors Program this year.
Fairbanks said "tens of thousands of dollars" were being spent on the program, 9 percent of the Honors and General Education budget. Most of the cost came in the form of travel to other schools to compete. Almost every school in the West has eliminated their programs. In the past, Student Life funded BYU's College Bowl.
"It was a difficult thing to do," Fairbanks said of cutting the program. "We discussed it at length before reaching that decision."
College Bowl has been a part of BYU for more than 30 years. Todd Britsch, professor of humanities, was part of a BYU team in the early 1960s that appeared on national television when the College Bowl quiz show was sponsored by General Electric.
"It was a place where the university received considerable publicity," said Britsch, noting the team posted a 4-1 record against competition from other schools. "I received my Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame. We got more publicity than the football team in those days."
Years later, when he became an administrator at BYU, he coached the school's College Bowl squad. Britsch said BYU's teams were always among the nation's best. But he agrees the program should be dropped.
"It's a good decision," he said. "It's a nice activity, but money could be better spent in course development."
Students who have been involved in College Bowl are disappointed in the verdict, including Ken Jennings, who has been participating the past two years. "This is a great program because it interests people in getting a broad-based education, not just focusing on some narrow area of study.
"Most of the things I've learned in college that I can use," he added, "I've learned for College Bowl."
Fairbanks commended students involved in College Bowl for supporting the decision. "To lose that support so quickly was quite a shock to them," he said. "It hurt them, but they were un-der-stand-ing."
College Bowl could return in the future, he added. "I don't see why not, if there's support from the right place. Is (College Bowl) appropriate here? Yes it is. It's a matter of prioritizing."
While the extramural team is being eliminated, Honors and General Education will provide some help for the on-campus, intramural College Bowl, which includes hundreds of students.