I was drawn to this school four years ago with promises of academic and extracurricular freedom. The opportunity to grow and mature as an independent person with the ability to make my own choices was apparently given to me.

However, I am concerned that this freedom has now been taken away from certain people. My major concern is that members of the football team are now being forced to choose between two facets of our community that have previously coexisted – Greek life and athletics.

As a member of the UR Greek community, specifically from a house that usually takes on football players as the majority of our pledge classes, I am appalled. My experiences over the past four years have been nothing but positive when it comes to Greeks supporting athletics. I, as well as most of my entire house, have been to just about every home football game, countless club hockey games and baseball games in the spring, all to support not only members of our own fraternity, but members of the UR athletic community. The coaches of the football team, apparently, do not reflect our enthusiasm for their endeavors. They have given their players an ultimatum – pick the team or pick the fraternity.

It is my knowledge that the reasoning behind the football program’s decision is their opinion that joining a fraternity detracts from the “team” mentality of an athletic squad. This, in turn, decreases the player’s drive and sometimes encourages them to quit their team.

I believe this is completely untrue. Fraternities do just the opposite. They encourage team members to excel in their sport, while offering them companionship and a fan base to follow their every play. They also teach students to cooperate with peers, handle fiscal responsibilities and to be independent individuals capable of making their own decisions. In several cases of athletes that I know personally, joining a fraternity was the only reason they did not quit their team.

The fact of the matter is that students do not lose their desire to participate in sports because of fraternities – they simply act upon their desires to make their time at the University as beneficial as possible. The point being that even if it was due to time spent in fraternities that these players decide to focus their energy elsewhere, do they not have that right?

For instance, what if they join a fraternity and decide that it is now more important to them than the football team. I have occasionally seen this occur.

In my opinion, it is the lackluster record of the UR football program since the takeover of Coach Mark Kreydt that sometimes takes a toll on the players, who often feel that it is not worth it to play – or often sit the bench – on a team that performs poorly.

The University needs to realize that by making kids choose between Greek life and athletics, they are only creating a rift that was not there beforehand, forcing the Greeks to take a stand in which we might try to get students to quit the football team in an effort to recruit more members.

It was never our move to make students pick one or the other. Dean William Green and a few coaches have started a battle that can only get worse.

The administration has let the coaches decide what type of rule their team will enact. So far, coaches of the football team, men’s soccer team, and baseball team have all forced this or a similar ultimatum on their players.

Shame on Green for supporting the coach’s decisions. I hope the student body agrees that making students choose between athletics and Greek life is a problem, not a solution.

Centi can be reached at jcenti@campustimes.org.

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