By Brittany Pierce
With rush week ending, the buzz on campus has turned to the difficulties students face who want to pursue both Greek life and athletics. According to a random survey of students, many feel that if they are participating in a sport, then they cannot participate in Greek life as well because of schedule conflicts or from possible coach discouragement.
“Most students and coaches would be worried about the time commitment if a student wishes to participate in both. Greek life isn’t as big as a time commitment as people think it is,” said Alpha Gamma Delta member Alexia Miller (’20).
Because of the misconception that students have to choose between one or the other, some students may be missing out on opportunities.
“I do believe it is possible to join a Greek life organization and participate in a sport,” said Miller. “I know of at least one person [who was discouraged from participating in Greek life]. She talked about how her coaches strongly advised players to not join a Greek organization.”
However, some of the coaches have different views.
“If one of my players came to me with a desire to join a fraternity, we would have a discussion about making sure he can balance and fill the requirements between school, basketball and the fraternity,” said Head Men’s Basketball Coach Samuel Hargraves.
“If he felt he could, I would fully support his desire to be a part of the Greek system. I wish there were more athletes in the Greek community at Alma. Of course, the coaches and athletes like it when students attend our games, it makes for such a better atmosphere.
“The Greek system can be the most influential part of that student atmosphere. Also, and this is the main benefit, I think it would bring our campus and students even closer together. There are so many life-long relationships that would come from athletics and Greeks getting to know each other better.
“Sometimes we tend to just stay within our group or team in college. A couple of my current best friends from college were guys that I didn’t play basketball with, and I was fortunate to get to know them another way. That is what can come from more of a joint relationship between Greeks and athletes,” added Hargraves.
However, Head Softball Coach Dennis Griffin has an opposing view.
“I discourage it during the season. If they want to pledge I tell them to do it in the fall. In my opinion it is a time issue. My players are here to get an education and graduate. In the spring semester, my players have their classes and 2-3 hours per day of practice. Adding another time-consuming event like Greek life is too much,” said Griffin.
Discouraging participation does not mean that the person does not like Greek life or find it invaluable.
“I think Greek life is a great opportunity for students to build an even stronger network with other students and alumni,” said Head Football Coach Jason Couch.
“It (whether or not an athlete should participate) depends on the individual student athlete. In most cases, I would support it, as long as they are able to balance all of their responsibilities,” said Couch.
On the other hand, some coaches are completely neutral.
“Greek life is an excellent way to build a support group in college, to give back to the community and to have a network of friends both on the local and national level for life,” said Head Men’s Lacrosse coach Michael Kinney.
“I’m neutral on it (participating in both athletics and Greek Life). It’s an individual choice for a guy, but lacrosse comes first, and my guys understand that,” said Kinney.