Relocating athletes

Athletic Department decides to move a number of student athletes to suite style dorms for winter quarter

Gabe Sta Maria, Staff Reporter

On-campus athletes are moving from Ashton and Hill into Emerson and Arnett as a preventive measure against COVID spread in anticipation of a winter spike. (Jacky Chen)

With fall quarter coming to an end, the athletic department has made the decision to move about 20 student-athletes who are currently living in Ashton Hall and Hill Hall to Arnett Hall and Emerson hall for winter quarter. This is being done to limit the risk of COVID-19 among other student and non-student athletes.

“The rationale behind the move is that as we move into the winter and spring quarter, we’re going to be required by the NCAA, the State of Washington, SPU, and our conference to do a pretty remarkable amount of covid testing,” said SPU athletic director Jackson Stava. “For some of our teams that will be multiple tests each and every week that a student will go through.”

Stava and the athletic department want to limit the possibility of quarantining non-student athletes in traditional residential halls.

“If we have positive cases that pop up, we wanted to minimize the impact on the rest of campus but also minimize the impact if there were positive cases on the rest of campus with us,” Stava said. “By moving our student athletes into more pod style housing, where teammates are moving in with teammates, the impact of a positive [COVID case] is much less on the rest of campus.”

Stava also recognizes that this may have been surprising to the student-athletes who are going to have to move resident halls.

“Students have asked why, we’ve heard from a couple of parents looking for the clarification of what the rationale is for why we’re doing this. But I will say that our students have been very supportive of it overall,” Stava said. “Once we really had the chance to unpack that we’re doing this to hopefully protect their ability to compete to a greater level, folks have been willing to do it and I’m very appreciative of our students for that.”

Sophomore rower Jacinta Grandel is one of the student-athletes who will have to move residential halls this winter quarter.

“When I was first told of the decision, I tried not to think too much about it. I looked at both the positive and negatives of it and quite frankly just decided to accept my fate,” Grandel said. “In moving from Ashton to Emerson, I am glad that I will not have to be walking up and down a hill regularly anymore.”

Grandel was confused by some of the information she received from the athletic department regarding this decision.

“The athletic department told us that they wanted to have the athletes in more of a ‘bubble.’ Somehow moving us into suite style dorms would put us at less risk of catching the virus,” Grandel said. “They said they want to make sure that the increased testing we will be receiving in the winter is not ‘put to waste,’ though I am still confused on what they mean by that.”

Grandel didn’t get to take part in this decision, but she recognizes that as an athlete, some things will be out of her control.

“In the time I have been a student-athlete, I realized that there are going to be decisions made for me, even since before all the changes that COVID has brought about. I have just decided to look at this as one of these kinds of occasions,” Grandel said.

Grandel is trying to make the best out of this decision made by the athletic department, and she is very thankful her teammates and herself are trying to maintain a positive attitude of the situation.

With a decision like this being the first one of its kind, Stava is confident that this is just a one time deal.

“Historically at SPU, we’ve never had student-athlete specific housing, I know that I personally believe it is very important for us to have our students be integrated into the rest of campus as much as we can. I don’t think this is a permanent change, this really is a one year change specifically because of the impact of COVID,” Stava said.