Saturday, November 19, 2011

Utah in Alaska

So our family took in a basketball game last night hosted by the University of Alaska Anchorage, one of our local universities.* It was unremarkable as college sporting events go, except when we looked at the program, only to find that the University of Alaska Anchorage—yes, Anchorage, Alaska—has a pretty sizable number of transfer students on the roster from Utah junior colleges (plus one player from Utah who came to Anchorage straight out of high school). Not only that, but they’re good—three of them started the game.**

Now, just ’cause these players are from Utah, it doesn’t mean that they’re Mormon†—but the odds are that most of them are.†† So, the question: What’s up with a recruiting pipeline from majority-Mormon Utah to majority-irreligious Alaska? It seems rather far away. I’m guessing there’s a story behind this, but i don’t know where to look for it.

* They currently have a nationally-ranked NCAA Division II women’s basketball team, and their early-season tune-up sacrificial lambopponent was the Dominican University of California Penguins—and if “Penguins” is an oblique reference to the school having been originally founded by nuns, they now have one of my very, very favorite school mascots ever.

** The other two starters were from other countries. We realized, as we looked at the roster, that the university could fill the floor with Utahns, and they could also fill the floor with non-North Americans. Yes, Alaska.

† Well, except for the one who Jeanne and i both agreed had the perfect look for a singles ward relief society president—ponytail don’t lie.

†† Only one of them is from Mormon-minority Salt Lake City, after all.

No comments: