A petition to bring back the Union football team has sparked a question among the current athletes across campus: “Why add a new team to a school that does not have a large enough gym to accommodate the athletes it currently has?”
Morgan Morfe, sophomore social work major and volleyball player, said she thinks Union should invest in the athletes it already has before adding more.
Adding a football team “would require an entirely separate field” and would require either a larger gym or one only for the athletes, Morfe said.
Working out can be difficult in the Wellness Center on campus for both athletes and non-athletes.
During peak times, particularly in the afternoons, evenings and especially right before spring break space is limited, and the center is often crowded.
“It’s not that it’s bad,” said Christian Shipman, junior Christian studies major. “But it gets really packed; it’s just shoulder-to-shoulder with people, and for a lot of people that’s just uncomfortable.”
While other students may find the situation uncomfortable, some student athletes express frustration at having to work around non-athletes.
“As college athletes, we shouldn’t have to work around intramurals or other students utilizing the gym in order to get in our required practices, which are necessary for our success during games,” Morfe said.
Morfe added, however, she thinks it also is unfair for students to have to work around the athletes.
“Students of Union University shouldn’t lose out on the opportunity to use the school’s facilities, like the gym,” she said.
But working around other students is not the only problem student athletes mention. They also work around one another as each team tries to get in required practices.
“We have a number of varsity sports teams already struggling to work around one another’s practices when we’re in and out of season,” Morfe said. “Having to share a gym between varsity sports, intramurals and recreation adds unneeded stress and sometimes unreasonable hours of play for both students and student athletes.”
A separate gym would be beneficial for everyone, said BethAnne Davis, sophomore nursing major and cross country runner.
Davis said other students working out recreationally or for intramurals may be overwhelmed by the athletes working out.
Shipman agrees, saying those who are just beginning to get into shape may see the athletes working out in the gym and turn away because they are intimidated by the level of fitness displayed by those athletes.
Sophomore art major Andrew Graham and Connor Johnson, freshman Biblical studies major, disagree, saying they are motivated to work harder and improve by working out around the athletes.
“Sometimes it’s helpful to see what other people are doing,” said Johnson, who added he works out in the Wellness Center every day. “It encourages you to do better.”
When asked about whether he thinks there is not enough space in the Wellness Center, Johnson disagreed.
He said the soccer team is usually there when he works out, and they don’t get in each other’s way.
“I don’t think it’s too small,” Johnson said. “From what I’ve seen, working out in the mornings [or] around lunchtime it doesn’t seem to be a problem. … I think it’s fine how it is. I don’t see a need to change anything.”
A common question regarding the new workout facility is a location on campus.
When asked, the athletes have a few rough ideas as to where the new gym could be located. Davis suggested locating it by the field house or soccer fields, while Morfe said that it could even be an auxiliary part of campus, like Luther Hall is.
Whether a location could actually be found to facilitate a new workout center, the athletes appear to like the idea, while non-athletes’ opinions are mixed.
“That’s segregation and showing favoritism to athletes,” said Graham. “That makes athleticism and health seem unattainable to non-athletes.”