Courtesy of Yale Athletics

This semester, the Yale Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, or SAAC, launched the inaugural Bulldog Cup Challenge, presented by Under Armour. This friendly competition among varsity teams aims to increase student-athlete participation in events and community service, and SAAC plans to announce the winning team at the end of the semester. 

Bulldog Cup is a points-based competition, with teams gaining points through SAAC event participation or more unique challenges, like creating TikToks. The team with the most points at the end of the competition will win $500 from Under Armour for locker room upgrades. 

Hannah Johns ’23, SAAC president and member of the women’s crew team, explained how the Bulldog Cup came to be.

“The idea of Bulldog Cup began last year, and a large part of that initial idea was to get student-athletes to attend more sporting events. Due to COVID, the focus of Bulldog Cup has shifted to virtual events and activities,” she said.

Athletes attend a Bulldog Sustainability x Bulldog Cup partnership virtual event. (Photo: Courtesy of Lindsay Chia)

Gymnast Lindsay Chia ’22, SAAC community service and Bulldog Cup chair, helped secure the partnership with Under Armour. 

“The Yale Athletic Administration team worked to get the UA sponsorship for the Bulldog Cup. In return, Under Armour wanted student athletes to show off their UA gear and participate in certain Instagram photo challenges,” she wrote in an email to the News. 

The Baltimore-based apparel company is Yale Athletics’ official outfitter, from gameday uniforms to practice attire.

SAAC hopes for Bulldog Cup to become an annual event where student-athletes can bolster their score by attending games for other teams or participate in other in-person events. 

“I’m so happy with its launch this spring, especially as a fun way to keep teams involved and in a competitive spirit, but am even more excited to see how it evolves in the future,” Chia said. “I envision a greater social media outreach, a live rankings table on the SAAC website and increased attendance with in-person events.”

For one challenge, teams were encouraged to submit photos showing a moment where a teammate felt supported. (Photo: Courtesy of Lindsay Chia)

The spirit of competition runs fierce among student-athletes. In a year without formal competition, Bulldog Cup provides a fun way for athletes to get competitive and challenge each other.

Women’s tennis player Kathy Wang ’22 reflected on how the Bulldog Cup fosters togetherness among members of her team.

“The photo and TikTok challenges have been great because we can reminisce on our memories from pre-COVID, especially because we are scattered all over the country,” Wang said. 

As of April 14, gymnastics is leading in the standings, with women’s golf and men’s tennis in second and third place, respectively. 

MELANIE HELLER