Coming into her first year of college, freshman Sydney Delp decided to play both basketball and tennis at the Division II level, all in addition to academics and transitioning into college life. Freshmen Todd Frickey and Alissa Jones both decided to pick up track events alongside their year-round conditioning and participation in football and swimming, respectively. Along with the course loads of full time students, they maintain physical conditioning and train for two sports.
“In Division III schools it is a fairly regular occurrence to have students in more than one sport. In Division II it is less so, but still some of it there, and with track and field athletes it can work really well,” women’s swim coach Kirt Kurner said. “I look at it as a great cross-training; getting other training and conditioning experiences is very useful.”
Generally, students will double up with track as a secondary sport, which is pursued during the off season of another sport, such as football or swimming.
“There’s obviously going to be some difficulty, but it is something I enjoy, and though it is difficult I have the opportunity to do both sports and I really enjoy and appreciate the special ability to do both,” Frickey said.
Delp takes on two sports with schedules that line up fairly well and prioritizes according to games instead of by one sport over the other.
“I like to consider that I am fully committed to two teams, and when it comes down to it, I just preference game over practice,” Delp said. “When I was initially being recruited one of the most attractive parts of Hillsdale College was the ability to play both tennis and basketball. It is so fantastic for the coaches to allow me to do both, and I really appreciate the opportunity.”
While the school does allow students to participate in more than one sport, the discretion falls greatly on the coaches.
“I think that every coach that allows their athlete to compete in another sport would still expect them to be dedicated to the philosophy of the sport and be training in that sport,” Kirner said. “There would be an understanding that they would keep their adherence to their primary sport’s policies and training.”
Students participating in multiple sports tend to arrange their schedules so that they have only one sport fully active at a time, in accordance with the NCAA rules, which state that any given athlete can play for only 20 hours each week. In order not to slack in either sport, the athletes must communicate greatly with the coaches between the two teams.
“I sat down with the coaches at the beginning of the semester and talked about what I am expected to do, and in each sport I got communication going so it would work out, and since I am not the first football player to run track, I have some sort of schedule already in mind,” Frickey said. “For example, right now I am in indoor track, so on Mondays I do track and the football workouts in the afternoon and the football workouts the rest of the week. In the spring I will probably still do track once or twice a week, but with my focus on football I will be doing more football workouts.”