Emerson teams struggle to get gym time

by Beacon Staff • April 23, 2008

While the professional team cancelled two days before their allotted time, other students have experienced difficulties scheduling the space when competing with other teams

"It feels like we are low on the radar if we are not in season," said Greg Epstein, a junior TV/video major and striker for Lion's soccer.,Last week, the NBA's Atlanta Hawks scheduled time in Emerson College's gym in Piano Row for practice on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, preventing the out-of-season soccer team from reserving a time to scrimmage.

While the professional team cancelled two days before their allotted time, other students have experienced difficulties scheduling the space when competing with other teams

"It feels like we are low on the radar if we are not in season," said Greg Epstein, a junior TV/video major and striker for Lion's soccer. "Its disheartening that I had to tell my team members that we couldn't play this week even though the gym wasn't being used."

Roger Crosley, the coordinator of athletic operations, said that professional basketball teams use the gym about once a month when in season and can only schedule time when the gym is not reserved by others.

"Our system is as equitable as can be and is built with varsity sports in mind," said Crosley. "However, we are always more than happy to see people using the facilities when other teams aren't."

Along with the Hawks, the Philidelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat have used the Emerson facilities.

Crosley said professional sports teams often use the Lion's den for practice when in the area for other athletic events, like games against the Celtics.

The current policy for reserving time at any of the Emerson athletic facilities must go through the athletic department and Crosley.

The requirements for scheduling time calls for students to book an allotted appointment during the hours of operations, between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. Lions looking to use the gym after 5 p.m. must have a first responder on site, someone trained in CPR and certified with a heart defibrillator. Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. any member of the athletic department or a coach can serve as a first responder.

"We are kind of the landlords of the largest open spot on campus," Crosley said. "There is a lot of demand and we have to be very careful to keep students safe."

Epstein said that while the regulations set in place by the Athletic Department are satisfactory, a change is needed.

"I feel like they could use a protocol or deposit for anyone outside of Emerson," Epstein said. "It is frustrating when kids are free from class to practice and the team scheduled doesn't show up."

Crosley, who said he has not received complaints about the system, said the hire of Shannon Roberts, the new facilities manager, will hopefully aid in the shortage of operating hours.

"Shannon will handle scheduling and make sure when someone comes in to use the gym, a first responder will be present," Crosley said. "We are talking about shaping her hours to possibly accommodate some weekend time for the gym."

A similar system is set in place for Rotch Field, a Boston city park partnered with Emerson. According to Crosley, the college has a first refusal lease with the city, allowing the college to be one of the first to claim times for permits throughout the year.

Students seeking hours on the field outside the school's time must obtain a permit through the city and cover the cost of running the lights at night, approximately $50-per-hour.