just mere talent are only a few of the many words that describe Pacific’s student-athletes.
To be a student-athlete isn’t just about the label. It’s about being a part of something more significant than just the competition; it’s for the team.
Freshman Kara Lankey described the Pacific Women’s Soccer Team as a “family atmosphere.”
Pacific University is a Division III school, which means it offers NCAA teams. However, it is not allowed to grant scholarships specific to sports to its athletes unlike Division I or II schools. Pacific athletes are not paid to put in the extra hours a sport requires along with their schoolwork unlike televised college athletes.
So why compete at the DIII collegiate level?
“What it really came down to was the love for the game,” said sophomore football player Jack Michels. “Even though (athletic) scholarships are not offered at this level, the fact that I still get to continue my athletic career beyond high school and to be a part of the Pacific team was why I chose to continue on.”
Flexible hours are a trait all student-athletes share. Not only are Pacific’s athletes expected by their coaches to perform to the best of their abilities on the court, field, track or pool, they are also expected by their professors to devote themselves mentally inside the lecture halls.
“Juggling school and sports adds another challenge to all our schedules,” said sophomore football player Warner Shaw, “but it also helps us to realize what it truly means to be a student-athlete.”
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) unifies all student-athletes as one and creates a close-knit athletic community.
The SAAC raises money for charity along with getting more of the student body to support the sporting events.
SAAC encourages both athletes and non-athletes of Pacific to attend sporting events by speaking directly to the sports teams’ representatives about which games need more attendance.
“The SAAC allows the representatives from each sport to pick a specific game or match and then to notify the student body to attend and help support those athletes at that particular game,” said SAAC representative and swim team captain, senior Kristine Valdez.
The SAAC is always looking for ways to bring more students, both athletes and non-athletes, out to the sporting events.
“There was a huge turnout of fans at various games with the promotion of breast cancer awareness month,” said baseball player and vice president of SAAC, senior Therone Bridges. “Now that it’s over we’re coming up with new ways to enlarge the crowds at all the sporting events.”