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Profile: The inner workings of the Brockport athletic department

by Panagiotis Argitis - Editor-in-Chief
Tue, Nov 19th 2019 09:00 pm
The College at Brockport athletics department is in charge of all the happenings before, during and after all athletic games.
The College at Brockport athletics department is in charge of all the happenings before, during and after all athletic games.

Regardless of its level, athletic competition takes place on a playing field, where fans and those who seek entertainment come together to spectate and be part of the action. While attendees are greeted to an arranged sporting event, prepared and tailored to their viewing needs, the majority of what makes it all possible goes unnoticed. 

Similar to many other organizations, The College at Brockport and its athletics program are tasked with providing its sporting fans and participants with venues equal in standard to the teams that play in them. As a result, the entirety of Brockport’s athletic calendar year is handled by several people who work behind the scenes in order for every event to happen. 

Stretching from directors and student groups to the maintenance staff, Brockport’s athletic contests and meets would not be able to run without the efforts from those who aren’t on the sidelines. Director of Athletics Erick Hart, who has facilitated Brockport’s athletics since 2013, credits all that’s been achieved by the athletics department to the staff who make it possible.

“It all comes down to the team we are so fortunate to have,” Hart said. “The students and even some of our coaches don’t recognize all the work that goes into the process, months and months prior to the actual competition.” 

Within a regular year, Brockport is host to over 150 athletic events, ranging from indoor to outdoor venues, along with large-scale ones such as the homecoming football game. Apart from the in-house staff responsible for preparing these events, Brockport’s kinesiology, sports studies and physical education (KSSPE) department plays a major part in the makeup of the college’s athletics coordination. 

Students enrolled in KSSPE programs apply their studies onto the field through practicums for college credit, which involves assisting with a large portion of athletic events. As a result, KSSPE has created a partnership with the athletic staff toward the same goal of providing the best athletic experience for attendees. 

Due to the extensive amount of athletic contests that play out over the course of the year, KSSPE student’s participation is critical and necessary in order for the show to run. 

“We simply wouldn’t be able to provide the quality of service we do without them [KSSPE],” Hart said. “Every single one of us has a role in making everything happen and KSSPE’s is huge.” 

The components that aren’t part of the sporting action are often easy to look past, but are essential to athletic contests. Without the presence of medical personnel, referees and security, a majority of the games that take place on Brockport’s campus wouldn’t be possible. 

Scheduling athletic matches doesn’t end with a date that works for both contesting sides. Brockport’s athletic staff is tasked with booking accommodations, many of which are a second thought to most people in the stands. 

“Do we have doctors? Is there an ambulance? Are there welcoming packets for those visiting? There are tons and tons of elements that go into it apart from what team is playing,” Hart said. “You have to take everything into consideration, even when the final whistle is blown.” 

In order to organize Brockport’s athletic events, Hart and other managing staff prepare the sporting schedule a year in advance. Doing so allows visiting teams and Brockport’s staff to assess conflicts far in advance of the events happening. In most cases, athletic schedules are difficult to work with as they are comprised of weekend contests that often conclude on Sunday’s. Similar to other college’s, Brockport’s athletic events take a toll on those responsible for preparing and maintaining them due to their timeliness. 

While arranging sporting contests begins with Monday meetings for all of Brockport’s athletic staff, those who manage the games don’t finish with their work until the end of the weekend. 

“Everyone gets burnt out,” Hart said. “I remember I had to mow my lawn in the pouring rain on Wednesday last week because I knew I was working all weekend. We give our staff mental breaks because there is really a lot to handle.”

The expectations set by sporting fans and attendees have allowed athletic programs to adapt to accommodations, which in return allow athletic games to seamlessly run, without a break in the action. 

While these standards result in a high level of experience for those in attendance, overlooking the finer details becomes easier to do.

“People watch sports on TV or from the sidelines and have no idea what actually goes into it,” Brockport’s Coordinator of Event Facility Operations Kathryn Delaney said. “There are so many parts to a game, so for [people] to realize that doing the smallest thing like hiring a ball carrier plays a lot in how someone enjoys the game.” 

Victories and championships come down to the athletes and teams who earn them. Despite their role in the success of an athletics program, the components that make it all possible comes down to the coordination of the staff that gets them on that path.

Though the planning of sporting events is essential to a team’s competition, the mission of Brockport’s athletic division is to support the fans and attendees, who are often the backbone of the teams. 

“We do it for the general student body,” Delaney said. “We bring people, communities and Brockport’s campus together for a product we are proud of. There are a lot of moving parts but everyone is here for the same common goal.”

Sporting competition is played by athletes, watched by fans and made possible by athletic coordinators and staff.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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