FU to MU: Webster U. Swipes at Mizzou Sports Dominance with Chess Billboard on I-70
Two Webster student athletes said they were upset about the billboard, posting on social media that the message is belittling to the school's other recruits.
Kevin Miller, a sophomore basketball player, wrote on Instagram: "Webster University Athletics has won the SLIAC All Sports Trophy 9 straight years. How does @websteru repay us, by putting up a billboard saying the top athletic recruits on campus are on the chess team. I am outraged and embarrassed to be an athlete at Webster University right now."
Katie Aubuchon, a senior soccer player, posted:
Chess is not a sport pic.twitter.com/8IOlXRwwVb— Katie Aubuchon (@kn_aubuchon) October 31, 2013
Giblin and Costello, the billboard's designers, say the sign was about contrast, not about leaving other sports out. "What could be further from a football team than a chess team?" Giblin says.
Webster's chess team did win the national championships this year. (Yes, that exists, though few fans of the "sport" exist or even know about the competition.)
Webster chose the final billboard over options like, "Our class sizes are smaller than the football team's roster," or "We play football, too" with a picture of a soccer player.
The billboard even caught the eye of the Wall Street Journal, who posted a quick write-up on the sports blog.
An MU spokesman told the Wall Street Journal:
We're very flattered to know that Webster University drew inspiration from some of our messaging. In terms of the challenge to a chess match, we'll accept, as long as Webster understands that we might just award Gary Kasparov with an honorary degree from Mizzou!