Semesters vs Sports
by Juan Lachapelle | published Feb. 10th, 2014
RIT’s conversion to semesters has affected more than just academics; athletic teams have felt this shift as well. All RIT sports teams were represented by the Athletic Administration and considered when the change was voted on. However, not all teams are feeling the same effects. Some teams are experiencing little change, some are encountering challenges and some are benefitting from the conversion.
For a few sports, semesters helped scheduling efforts. Bill Garno, head men’s soccer coach, and Mike Cahill, head men’s and women’s swim coach both said that the change to semesters is a positive move for RIT and their athletes. Cahill said he has heard mixed opinions from his swimmers but expects students and faculty to take a year or so to completely adjust.
An aspect these coaches like about the change is the increased number of weeks for practice. Many conference games, NCAA championship games and swim meets used to fall on finals week on the quarter system but the extra weeks of the semester gives players time to focus on school and athletics separately. Jim Lodes, head women's volleyball coach, said he also sees minimal change besides the increase in weeks making scheduling more convenient.
For others, the addition of an intersession creates scheduling conflicts. Bob McVean, head men’s basketball coach, said he sees intersession as a challenge for his team as his sport spans part of fall and spring. He sees the extra time spent away could ruin the conditioning and training of the team.
All of the coaches said they see co-ops and study abroad as a main concern for all sports since students no longer have the option to take them during winter quarters. For teams that play during the spring, this conflict manifests as choosing between playing or going on a co-op.
“We certainly need to be accommodating of co-ops,” said Garno. “One of the things we sell to recruits is that this co-op program is so great.”
Since some co-ops now start at the beginning of the spring semester in January as opposed to the spring quarter in March, for teams such as Cahill’s: “It really hurts with kids having to choose to start the co-op late and losing money.” Similarly, from McVean’s perspective, students in certain teams will now have to decide to miss their season or find a summer co-op.
For the future, there are hopes to see better scheduling accommodations for co-ops from both the school and employers. McVean spoke of possible changes to the weeks of intersession and spring break as one of the solutions to fix the problem.
Until changes are implemented, coaches may adapt through a variety of methods. Cahill suggested for students to negotiate co-op starting times with employers and for coaches to make sure to have a larger group of freshman recruits to counteract upperclassmen leaving for co-ops.
Like most areas affected by the conversion, benefits and effects will not be fully clear for a couple of years. As the transition continues to occur, interested students should speak with coaches, players and RIT Athletics for the latest updates.