Residence life at Malone has always been different compared to the average public school college student’s experience.
Unless a student is married and lives within a 50 mile radius of the University, students are not allowed to live off campus until they turn 22-years old. And most student’s can say when they finally reach senior year they are ready to take up that privileged offer.
But after Student Development announced housing changes, student athletes will lose that privileged opportunity to live off campus.
Student Development recently announced in December that a new housing policy would be in full action August 2014 for any student athletes that are receiving scholarship money.
The new policy states, “ All full-time, unmarried, undergraduate students with 90 or fewer credit hours earned, under 22 years of age, not commuting from the current, primary, full-time residence of their parents/legal guardians, living outside a fifty-mile radius of the University, and any scholarship athletes regardless of age and credit hours are required to live in University housing. Additionally, any traditional student whose cumulative GPA is below 2.5 or has a disciplinary sanction will not be eligible to apply for off-campus housing.”
Athletic Director Charlie Grimes said, “ We are not trying to pull athletes away from living with their parents but the main issue we are struggling with is that when a scholarship athlete moves off campus they become distant from the campus, the team and we want you all to be leaders.”
Grimes shared how he wants Pioneers to have a good name in the surrounding areas as well as the athletes to be the leaders and face of Malone. The investment that he is putting into these athletes is what he does not want to jeopardize.
“My main issue and why I support this is the discipline problems that we face and the calls that we receive from people in the neighborhoods they live in,” Grimes said.
Although Grimes discusses discipline issues regarding athletes living off campus, he believes that future student athletes will eventually have some sort of freedom with housing policy.
“I want to reduce cost for the athletes that stuck it out in the future,” Grimes said. “I want to give them preference of where they want to live and also in the future, I want us to have on-campus apartments where they pay rent and have freedom.”
Grimes further stressed that this is not a financial decision and understands the turf this has caused current athletes.
But not everyone is supporting the new housing policy for next August. Many athletes were in an uproar once this information was released and later put together a meeting with the housing department January 14th, 2014.
The student athletes argued that the new policy should only pertain to new coming students and that Student Development should grandfather the policy to current student athletes. Meaning that current student athletes stay under the policy that they originally came in with.
“I think this rule is ridiculous and if they wanted an excuse to make extra money they shouldn’t spend it on unnecessary things,” senior basketball player Sydnee Penn said.
Penn, along with many other students, believe that the rule came into effect due to financial reasons.
“I feel that this rule won’t change anything,” Penn said. “Just because athletes live here doesn’t mean they’re going to be involved how people think. They can’t make them talk to anyone they don’t want to or go to anything they want to.”
Penn is also an athlete who lives off campus with her parents.
“I never had a problem with staying on campus though,” Penn said. “ I’d go to class, my room and to practice. I was to myself and I know many athletes now stay to themselves.”
Penn also said , “That this policy won’t be into effect too long. I feel that Grimes’s future plan of having on-campus apartments will be a better look for students.”
Other athletes also had a view comments to share about the new residence life and the look for the future.
“Having on-campus apartments is cool and all, but people want to be able to say this is my house,” sophomore football player Charles Dickens IV said. “This policy is unethical in my opinion.”
Dickens is an athlete who lives on campus now that had the aspiration to live off campus in the future.
[pullquote]“Living off campus is a growing stepping stone for young adults, and if they take that away from us they’re not letting us learn from our mistakes,” Dickens said. “ Mistakes are how you mature. You’re going to do stuff in your own house and that’s just the way of life. They’re just adding rules on top of rules for us. When can we say we’re adults?”[/pullquote]
Dickens also expressed how the new housing policy could potentially hinder the growth in athletics.
“Athletes already are turning away from Malone who are already here,” Dickens said. “With potential freshman coming in who are interested in Malone’s athletics they will see the rule that they can’t live off campus if they have a scholarship and they’ll shy away from coming here.”
The student athletes’ request for grandfathering the new policy was recently passed by Student Development but is in pending process due to Senate’s full decision on the policy.
Check out the opinion piece on the new housing policy here.