In many ways, North Dakota State is a microcosm of the United States.
This is especially true when it comes to religious diversity in athletics. In the long run, I think it would only benefit NDSU students and student-athletes to experience any sort of religious diversity.
Sixty-one percent of student-athletes are from Minnesota or North Dakota, where the dominant religion is some form of Christianity.
We see Bison footballers run out of the locker room and take a quick knee in the south end zone for a quick prayer, and we also see Bison basketball players pointing toward the ceiling after a big play.
I wonder if there are any non-Christian prayers being said, or any other gods being thanked.
Former Bison athlete Brock Jensen was well-known in his beliefs; he would often give credit to God.
When asked about the opportunity to continue football in the Canadian Football League, Jensen said he was “blessed.”
Current Bison sophomore offensive lineman Grant Morgan sends out a tweet saying, “The Lord’s day” every Sunday morning.
Looking bigger, religious American athletes are most typically Christian.
Tim Tebow became famous from his on-field disposition also known as “Tebowing” at the University of Florida. He gained both respect and hate from people around the country for being publicly Christian.
Probably the most famous non-Christian Amerian athlete is Muhammad Ali who joined the Nation of Islam in the 1960’s. He even evaded the Vietnam War draft and cited being a Muslim minister as his reason.
Other than Ali, I couldn’t think of another non-Christian professional athlete from any time period, let alone even one in today’s sports world.
In such a non-diverse religious setting, NDSU and NDSU Athletics as an entire program seldom experiences religious diversity or knowledge. It is comforting for the majority of students from Minnesota and North Dakota, but hardly prepares them for real-life situations.
When conversing with people different than you, it could create tension or acceptance, and I think that with knowledge of other religions there comes power. And with power and knowledge, the possibilities in life are endless.