Sports Illustrated: Bearcats football embodies UC work ethic

The ‘work-your-way-up’ mindset developed by the co-op program sets UC apart

Sports Illustrated featured the rise of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats football team, which is undefeated in regular season play for the second consecutive year and ranked No. 4 by the College Football Playoff selection committee.

Sports Illustrated shared the story of the Bearcats football fan through the lens of Drew Young — two-time UC engineering graduate — who the writer met at a local Cincinnati bar as Young watched the November 12 Bearcats game. 

Young told Sports Illustrated how he’s enjoyed the team’s success without looking too far ahead. 

“I was able to let go of the playoff nonsense early and enjoy each game,” Young told Sports illustrated. 

In the article, writer Pat Forde touted the connection between the tireless work ethic of the team and the university’s 115-year-old cooperative education program.

“In a sport that rewards privilege and protects the powerful, Cincinnati is the common man’s insurgent. An idea spawned on this urban campus in the early 20th century became a guiding principle of the university: cooperative education, the forerunner of internships and other work-study programs, which placed students in jobs while they were still in school to help pay bills and gain real-world experience in their majors. This empowered generations of working-class students to aim for an education that otherwise might have been out of their grasp.

"Today, the work-your-way-up concept that engineering dean Herman Schneider conceived in 1906 is embodied in an undefeated football team.”

Football fan Patty Klingbiel, a graduate of UC’s Lindner College of Business and president of branding firm The Connell Group, told Sports Illustrated what it’s like to be a UC student and alumni. 

“We have an incredibly strong work ethic, much of which comes from the experiential education program,” Klingbiel told Sports Illustrated. “We believe we have to work for it, in academics and athletics. That involves a grit and a humility. We always believe in what is possible, and we don’t expect it to be handed to us. All we want is a chance.”

Read the Sports Illustrated story.