In 2014, the housing policy changed. Before, all students were able to live off campus once they were 22 or became seniors. Now, only non-athletes have access to this privilege. The current rule states that all athletes, regardless of age or status, must live on campus (unless they live within 50 miles of campus) for all four years. If they choose to move off campus, some or all of their scholarship money gets taken away.
Last year, volleyball players Heather Papp, Anna Hays, and others came up with a proposal for current student athletes (classes 2015-2017) to be grandfathered in under the old rules. The university authorities decided that instead of grandfathering in all of the classes, they would only allow current seniors (then juniors) to be grandfathered in.
When athletes on scholarship here at Malone signed to play, part of the contract contained the outline of the housing policy, which included the fact that athletes would be allowed to move off campus senior year.
This is where we started brainstorming. Some of us on the volleyball team began to meet and discuss what we should do to change this new policy. We decided that the best compromise would be that the current sophomores and juniors get grandfathered in too, as this is the assumption we were under when we signed our contract.
Upon further discussion, we decided that the best way to approach this proposal would be to include other athletes, making it clear that it’s not just the volleyball team making noise, but that this issue means a lot to many athletes here. Several captains from teams on campus held a meeting in January, where it was decided that Brandon Bapst, Lorne Strausbaugh, and I would head up the proposal and present it to Student Senate.
For our presentation to Senate, we added new information to the proposal that was used last year. Some points included:
- When student athletes planned out how they would make Malone work financially, that plan may have included the ability to move off campus senior year, as it is considerably less expensive than living on campus.
- The current seniors signed the same contract as the sophomores and juniors, and were grandfathered in. We believe we should be allowed the same privilege.
- Even though there are student athletes living off campus, Malone’s athletic program as a whole still achieved above a 3.0 grade point average. Ten of 54 student athletes living off campus have achieved all-GLIAC recognition. This further emphasizes the point that Malone’s student athletes are still extremely committed, hard working, servant leaders here on campus, even though some decided to live elsewhere.
- We are not saying that every athlete should move off campus senior year, but we want to keep that option available when the time comes.
Student Senate was nearly unanimous in their decision to support us, and will be forming a committee to formulate an official proposal as well as ideas to create a new application and terms of agreement that all students would fill out to live off campus.
As in everything, our main priority is to glorify Christ. Thus, our aim isn’t to create a huge upset in the culture of Malone, but rather to work with Student Senate and the administration to make our experience here one that is beneficial to the student athletes, the university, and the Canton area as a whole.
Haley Kool is a sophomore business and accounting double major.