Archive for: September 23rd, 2013

Criminal activity

Staff Writer

There was a time when the ESPN show “SportsCenter” featured the best highlights of the day from the world of sports, as a way for fans to keep tabs on all the action they missed throughout the day. Today, on SportsCenter and similar programs, you are more likely to see news about the things taking place off the field, rather than the play on the field.
In recent weeks, the headlines have been dominated by the likes of MLB’s Alex Rodriguez and former NFL star Aaron Hernandez. Rodriguez is facing one of the longest suspensions in baseball history after he and a number of other players were connected to Biogenesis, a clinic that issued illegal performance enhancing drugs to professional athletes.
Meanwhile, Hernandez is currently in jail facing murder charges for the death of 27 year-old Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player from Connecticut. With all of the scandals that have been in the news recently, it is becoming hard to remember why we even enjoy sports in the first place.
It is not as if now is the first time we have seen star athletes making news for their off the field antics. We have seen it happen throughout the history of sports.
However, in today’s society, athletes are being watched under an intense social microscope at all times. While the media have an obligation to report news, it seems unnecessary to cover these scandals, especially at the expense of showing the action that it is taking place on the field.
For example, take Texas A&M football star Johnny Manziel. He has dominated the headlines leading up to the season due to a variety of stories about his extracurricular activities, most recently for allegedly being paid by a broker to sign large amounts of memorabilia, which would violate National Collegiate Athletic Assosciation (NCAA) rules. Amidst the non-stop coverage of celebrities Manziel has been spotted with, and the bars he is partying in, the media have totally bypassed covering the hype and excitement of what promises to be a great college football season.
The media are not entirely to blame for the onslaught of off-the-field news. In our social media-driven culture, fans are demanding more and more information. They want to know what star players are doing at all hours of the day, and the media have been happy to oblige.
But is it all really necessary? Isn’t the beauty of sports the fact that you can turn on a game for a couple of hours at the end of a long day just as a simple form of entertainment?
For the eternal optimists like myself, there is some proof that there is more left to competitive sports than just criminal, cheating, money hungry athletes. In fact, over the past few months, it has become increasingly obvious to me that student athletes right here at Virginia Wesleyan embody all the qualities we admire in athletes.
Marlin athletes are not playing with the promise of earning a major professional contract. In fact, as NCAA Division III athletes, they are not even playing for an athletic scholarship. However, simply having the opportunity to continue their athletic career and be part of a team is incentive enough to work hard on the field and in the classroom.
In addition to their hard work during the season, one walk around campus during the summer months will make it clear that Marlin athletes carry themselves with class off the field as well. Virginia Wesleyan hosts a number of day camps throughout the summer, and they are usually filled with volunteers from various sports teams.
Odds are we will not be seeing many of these athletes on shows like SportsCenter in the near future. Then again, considering the stories that are making headlines these days, I do not think we want to see them on there anyway.

Potential playing possibilities

Staff Writer

Many people know that VWC offers several intramural and club activities, but what do you do when the activity you want to be a part of does not exist? You take the initiative and create it, which is exactly what freshman Sorenda Bickerstaff, senior Jimmy Bowman and sophomore Forrest Teague are trying to do this semester. With the new school year starting, they are looking to start some new sports at VWC, including club rugby and club baseball.
There is already an intercollegiate baseball team at VWC; however, it is an NCAA regulated sport and while there is an open roster, only nine players can be on the field at a time. With a team of about 40 players, that is not a whole lot of playing time during games.
Teague and Bowman want to create a “less demanding, but [still] competitive team,” said Bowman. Teague said that the club team would provide the opportunity for those who just want to play.
As one of America’s favorite pastimes, Teague and Bowman want the club team to have a “respected reputation.” They hope to accomplish this by implementing a three strike policy for campus misconduct, a zero tolerance policy for drugs and requiring students to maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher.
Currently, the team is only in the beginning stages, so it is still looking to find men to sign up on the roster. As well as looking for players, the team is also looking for suitable practice areas; at the moment, the best prospect is Norfolk Academy. They hope to have a few full-team practices or scrimmages by the end of the semester.
“RecX can’t offer a competitive intramural team like a club team would,” said Bowman.
As a club sport, they would play against teams from other colleges, including Old Dominion, Norfolk State, and Christopher Newport. Being a club sport is beneficial to a team because it allows the team to have a more structured practice schedule, as well as games with referees and a higher level of competition.
Because of her passion for the sport, Bickerstaff is a freshman who is looking to start a club rugby team on campus.
“Rugby is a great alternative to not having a football team,” said Bickerman.
Although rugby and football are very different sports, this club would create diversity within club sports. With four years of experience, Bickerstaff would enjoy the chance to “spread cultural awareness about a sport that is only beginning to gain popularity in America.” Rugby is an international sport that welcomes all different levels of athleticism because each position requires a certain athletic ability to be successful.
Similar to the club baseball team, the rugby team would compete against other colleges. However, while the baseball team is more geared toward men, Bickerstaff is hoping to gain enough interest from women to have a female team.
“[P]eople underestimate girls playing rugby,” said Bickerstaff. Despite her years of experience, Bickerstaff generally receives skepticism from people when she informs them that she plays rugby, though she had hoped that Title IX would have dispelled people’s thoughts about how “rugby is only a guys’ sport.”
Bickerstaff would like rugby at VWC because she has a passion and wants to share that with others.

“[I believe rugby] is a great way to stay fit and it would bring people together with a sense of community,” said Bickerstaff.

At the moment, the idea of club rugby is only starting up. Bickerstaff approached the intramural office after the first week of the school year with the thought of making a team. If you are interested in playing, there is a signup list outside the RecX office across from the bookstore.
With the prospects of two new club sports at Virginia Wesleyan, it goes to show how much this school grows to fit the student body’s needs. This is our school and we are here to make a difference and to enjoy ourselves, so why not take the chance to start a new club or sports team? You never know what will happen unless you try.

Marlins strive for new goals

Staff Writer

The men’s soccer team had an astounding year in the 2012 season, but fell just short of a cinderella finish in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) tornament championship game.
109 minutes of the game had been played with a score of 0-0 on the scoreboard, and Roanoke stunned the Marlins by putting one in the back of the net with less than one minute to play.
Last year’s Marlins went into the conference tournament as a six seed in a tournament with eight teams.
In regular season play, they recorded eight wins, nine losses and two ties. Six of those wins were in conference play, and five of those losses were also to ODAC teams.
Not many people were expecting the VWC men’s soccer team to make it to the championship game of the conference tournament.
Things are different this year for the men’s soccer team. The team’s starters are all back in action. Everybody who played in the conference title game last year has returned this year and ready to roll.
“We’re going to do really well; we have the same team as last year, plus 10 freshmen,” said sophomore Joshua Kemp. “Josh McNamara is a captain, so there is really well balanced leadership, and he will be ready to lead next year as well.”
Kemp also said that their number one goal this year is to go the National Collegiate Athletic Assosciation (NCAA) tournament and win the ODAC championship.
The team has had a great start to lead them in the right direction; they kicked off the year with a 2-0 win over Wesley College and a 3-2 victory over Christopher Newport University. The win over CNU was huge for the Marlins.
“I’m relieved; it took us four years to beat them and we were able to get it done,” said senior Ryan Leslie.
This win is also a big confidence booster for the men.
“I feel like we can beat anyone we play,” said senior Chris Luce. “There is no doubt in my mind we can have an undefeated season.”
Goals are set high for the men’s soccer team, and they should be. The team feels as though it deserves another shot at the conference title after getting as far as it did last year, and all of that was achieved with a young team. This year’s team has the experience and the talent to accomplish their goals.
The women’s team had an impressive 2012 campaign, posting 18 wins, two losses and one tie last year, and they were ranked as high as number three in the nation. Despite a long, hard fought season, the women were knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the first round.
This year’s women’s soccer team also has high hopes. It is returning with many experienced players who feel like they deserved to go farther in the NCAA tournament last year. The women are back in full force and ready to prove where they belong this year.
“It’s going to be a good season,” said senior Erica Keil. “[W]e have talented new freshman and great returners who are ready to make an impact.”
The Marlin women have gotten off to a great start this season by posting two shutouts, one of which was a tie against
Meredith College and the other was a 1-0 victory over Fredonia State.
“Those wins were huge for us,” said Keil. “They were big confidence boosters because they were both shutouts, and it was great for the freshman to experience.”
There may be some doubts coming from outsiders because the women are not returning with last year’s ODAC player of the year, Krista Whitmore.
“It’s not possible to replace a Krista Whitmore,” said Keil. “She was a huge part of our team last year, but Angel Horowitz and Allie Ketzler have done an amazing job of stepping up for us this year in the back.”
The women have great confidence in each other, and are excited about doing even better this year. With a young group of 12 freshmen, the team is ready to develop and have a great season.

What’s your fantasy?

Staff Writer

Training camp for NFL teams means the start of the season is just around the corner. For many fans all over the world, this means that the fantasy football craze is also just about to begin.
Fantasy football is a virtual league of teams, compiled with statistics from actual NFL rosters, where fans can compete as acting managers for the team they have put together. Fans select players from the entire league’s pool of players based on previous years performances as well as projected rankings by football experts and personal opinion of the athletes. At the end of the season, some fantasy leagues even have cash prizes for their champions and runners up.
Managers of fantasy teams have to pay close attention to all football relations throughout the
offseason in order to make good draft choices. During the season, managers can bench, trade or release players based on a number of factors. For fans of fantasy football, it will be important to use the resources available to stay current on transactions within the NFL. These may include trades, injuries,
suspensions and free agency moves.
Fantasy football has become such a large entity that it has sparked special segments on ESPN and on the NFL network to inform fans of how operations might affect their teams.
“Joining a fantasy league is kind of my way of becoming more involved in football,” said senior Mikaela Whitaker. “It will be fun, I think.”
According to the majority of preseason fantasy rankings, the number one player in the league is the Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. This is mostly due to the 2,000 plus yard season he had last season. Impressive, considering he had just returned from an ACL injury.
Questions rage about Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III because of a similar knee injury and surgery at the end of a record setting rookie season. Many football fans and professionals wonder whether he will still be the same football star that so many worshipped last season.
Some players are not as highly regarded in football. ESPN experts say that Giants quarterback Eli Manning, a decent real time player, is not expected to do so well with fantasy statistics. Due to some performance inconsistencies that can be compensated for by a great surrounding cast, Manning is expected to lead his team to through a good season. However, for fantasy managers, Manning will most likely be valueless this season.
On the opposite end, Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys is expected to put up some impressive fantasy numbers, but may not have such luck in real time.
“I have grown to expect Romo to not perform in clutch moments,” said sophomore Craig Sheridan.“But he did put up crazy fantasy stats when I had him.”
For the fans who do not quite appreciate the traditional style of fantasy football, there are modified leagues that fit specifications for different fans. For example, has a leagues setup so that managers select new rosters each week rather than keeping the same players for a full season. If that is too severe of a change, then more traditional leagues can be set up with different scoring systems tailored to the owners’ likings.
With the NFL season under way, regular fan and fantasy managers alike are mostly just excited to watch some football.

“I’m not big on fantasy football, really. I’ve looked into it and it’s not really my thing,” said junior Lee

Cranford. “Peyton [Manning] sure made some people happy this week, though.”
Whether you enjoy making your own fantasy football team or you just like catching a game on the weekend, the general consensus is that football is finally here.

Title IX: Addressing sexual misconduct

Members of the men’s soccer team listen to the Title IX presentation.

Staff Writer

Recent changes to Title IX mean important new information about sexual misconduct for students and faculty alike. It’s not just for sports anymore.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational program or activity that receives financial support from the Federal government.
Under Title IX, discrimination based on sex includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, and sexual assault. The new changes also prohibit retaliation against individuals who complain about or participate in an investigation regarding an alleged Title IX violation.
Additionally, under Title IX schools are required to have a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Virginia Wesleyan has two: McCarren Caputa, associate dean of students for residence life and deputy Title IX coordinator, and Jason Seward, dean of freshmen, director of Jane P. Batten Student Center and deputy Title IX coordinator.
“The role of a Deputy Title IX Coordinator is to educate and train the VWC community about responses and [to] investigate all claims that come forward,” said Seward.
In compliance with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights’ mandate that all college and universities in the United States provide information and resources available to students regarding the changes in Title IX, VWC has made improvements upon previous systems already in place to combat sexual misconduct cases.
“The college has always been taking sexual misconduct cases very seriously,” said Caputa.
“However, [the college] has made defining terms and actions clearer, made reporting easier, and hearing cases has been improved by removing students from the panel,” said Seward. “[Such changes] increase overall privacy for both parties involved,” said Seward.
“The College will support you in a sexual assault, if you find yourself in that situation,” said David Buckingham, vice president of student affairs and dean of Enrollment Services.
In fact, Seward and Caputa think that the new policy changes impact on the campus community will be bigger impact than we will ever know. However, predicts that there will be a spike in the number of cases in the first years of the program, but overtime numbers will decline because it’s not happening on campus.
“The impact of Title IX on VWC will be that we will have a campus that is aware, not only of the law and not only of VWC policy,” said Seward.

“We will have a campus that watches out for each other and becomes part of the community.”

“We will get more reports, for VWC is no exception,” said Caputa. “Title IX and sexual misconduct are not talked about enough and the campus needs to be educated about procedures, and maybe then VWC can become the exception.”
There have been reports that only members of Greek life and sports team will have to sit through additional meetings, or discussions, about Title IX. This is not necessarily the case.
“A variety of student groups and staff groups have [sat] through Title IX educational meetings, including security, library staff, faculty and divisions of student affairs,” said Seward.
According to national statistics, fraternities and male sports teams are the student groups most likely to act as the perpetrators of sexual misconduct cases; however, such trends do not necessarily indicate that VWC is in line with the national standards.
“Since this is the case, smaller sessions in intimate settings, in a group tank [it] allows for character assessments and possibly allows the male organizations on campus to come up with campaigns to change the norm,” said Seward.

A bellhop, skip and a jump away from campus

Staff Writer

Due to limited housing space, students have had to adjust to living in the Lake Wright hotel off campus.

Going to college normally consists of moving into dorm halls, getting acquainted and adjusting to living with roommates and familiarizing oneself with the campus. Students begin to make friends, arrange social gatherings and live new independent lives.
However, for 50 students, move-in day was filled with greetings in a hotel lobby and luggage carts.
“Fortunately, the number of students living in the hotels has decreased significantly,” said Desiree Ladyman, Residence Life housing coordinator. “We had close to 50 students scheduled to live there when school began. There are 25 students in the Lake Wright hotel, including RAs. The hotel also has an assigned Village Coordinator.”
Virginia Wesleyan College has worked with Lake Taylor for many years now. The college has a great relationship with the hotel and their staff works hard to provide the best accommodations to the students living there. The hotel houses overflow resident students when dorms, suites, apartments and townhouses are filled.
There is no difference in the cost to live on campus when living in the hotel.

“The students pay the same price and have the same meal plan as students in Village I,” said Ladyman.

“Amenities at the Lake Wright for students include an indoor/outdoor pool, a fitness room, free Wi-Fi and an event room for programs and meetings. Students also enjoy private bathrooms, fresh sheets and towels, and a delicious buffet breakfast that is offered downstairs each morning,” said Ladyman. “It is our hope that living together in the Lake Wright offers an experience for students that is as close as possible to being on campus.”
The college does try to keep students housed together to further promote the feeling of community, so all the students are housed on the second floor of the hotel. The students in the Lake Wright consist of female freshmen and male returning students.
Students are moved over to campus as rooms open up (due to transfers, withdrawals and residents becoming commuters) in order of their deposit date (for freshmen) and continuing enrollment payment date (for upperclassmen). This goes against the common notion that the hotel only houses underclassmen.
The college hopes that the living situation at the hotel is only temporary.
“We anticipate having students [at the hotel] for the remainder of the semester, but should be able to house all students on campus in the spring semester,” said Ladyman.
“One thing that I miss from living in the hotel is the beds. They are a lot better than those available on campus,” said sophomore Steven Franklin, who lived in the hotel during the first week of school. “Oh, and I will miss the room service.”
One accommodation the college provides is transportation for students living in the hotel.
“The Marlin Transit is working out very well,” said Ladyman. “It is offered multiple times per day and is driven by our Village Coordinators and members of the Batten staff. Many students also have their own vehicles or ride with friends to campus.”
Not everyone at the hotel is agrees with this notion.
“It was difficult to get to campus because of the bus schedule,” said junior Karim Kerr. “I don’t have a car, so relying solely on the bus schedule was [a difficult adjustment].”
“While [the students] are not physically on campus, they are still part of the campus community and will have programs and other events like the students who live in any of the residence halls,” said Ladyman.
The feeling of community differs greatly amongst those living in the hotels.

“It was almost as if we lived in a separate community,” said Kerr. “Spending time on campus, especially between classes was difficult because there was no place for me to lie down or to just relax. It was just different than living on campus.”

“Because I was living at the hotel, I felt excluded because I was an upperclassman,” said Franklin. “I wasn’t able to hang out with my friends till late at night. My social life was disrupted by the shuttle schedule.”
“The RAs have said there is a real sense of community among the freshmen girls over there, and there are quite a few who have requested to stay together over at the Lake Wright even if a room becomes available for them on campus,” said Ladyman.