By Ryan Kiger & Caylie Privitere || Contributing Writers
College offers an array of opportunities, both athletic and otherwise, to dabble in over the course of four years. Sports teams just scratch the surface of possibilities: there is a seemingly infinite number of organizations and clubs to be involved in to fully enrich one’s college experience. However, despite efforts to cultivate a diversely engaged student body, some Division III sports teams are unfairly restricted from participating in a quintessential aspect of student life: Greek Life.
Several F&M sports teams, namely the track and football teams, have barred their athletes from participating in Greek Life for some period of time during a student’s four years. However, this directly contrasts various other sports teams in which the majority of the team constitute a Fraternity. Athletes, particularly those who are restricted all four years of college, are forced to choose between their team and Greek Life, a decision athletes should never have to make if college is designed to produce multi-faceted individuals. Greek Life has much appeal to college students: being able to meet new people and expand one’s social circle, the opportunity to become involved in philanthropy and even joining the parliamentary style government individual to the fraternity or sorority. Due to the time-consuming nature of sports, meeting new people is a particularly important aspect for athletes who tend to exclusively socialize with other members of the team. Sophie Worthy, a Varsity Cross Country runner and member of ADPI elaborates: “Similar to the camaraderie found on sports teams, Greek Life can offer an incredibly rewarding way to connect with others. Greek Life allows athletes to form friendships outside of the team, bringing together our diverse campus community in a unique way.”
While preventing student-athletes from joining Greek Life can be seen as a fair compromise with the best interests of athletes in mind, the prohibition of fraternities and sororities is a blow to the fundamental rights of students. College is a place to facilitate growth, where high schoolers acquire life experiences and mature by making their own choices about spending their time. Forbidding athletes from partaking in Greek LIfe on the basis that they are unable to make “good” decisions is preposterous and demonstrates the lack of trust confided in student athletes. Any student on campus, including student athletes, could find themselves in a fraternity basement the night before a test, meeting, or big game. This is not dependent on their involvement in Greek Life, but rather on the lifestyle choices all students are free to make. The unjust subjugation of student athletes to this ridiculous stipulation has no effect on the performance of an athlete, considering anyone who wants to sacrifice their performance will still do so, even if they have no involvement in Greek Life.
Division III athletics is an ideal balance between sports and academics; student athletes have the opportunity to excel in both capacities with time left over to join clubs or other endeavors. Barring student athletes from Greek Life violates the Renaissance Athlete Mantra, an ideology promoting well-rounded athletes at the Division III level. This blatant disregard for the interests of students devoting themselves to athletics should no longer be tolerated. It is our responsibility as student athletes to bring this unjust matter to the attention of F&M students to bring about change.
First-years Ryan Kiger and Caylie Privitere are contributing writers. Their emails are email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.