All posts by Kimberly Pena

Still Not The Time For CCSU Student Athletes To Get Paid

by Kimberly Pena

Over the past years, the conversation in college sports about unionizing and paying student athletes have been heating up, and the discussion is not going anywhere, especially at Central Connecticut State University.

With over 400 student athletes attending CCSU, 99 of those students are football players, making up nearly 25 percent of the student athlete population at Central. On average, Central football players spend an approximate 45-plus hours training a week, and that does not include travel time, game time, study hall and their regular classes.

Joey Fields, a junior and a wide receiver for the football team, says his schedule is always tight. In the regular season, he does not get enough personal time to relax or hang out with friends. He wakes up at 6 a.m. to head to the field at seven in the morning for practice, then heads to lift weights at eight and following that, he must go to his daily meetings with the team at 9:25 in the morning.

Following his busy morning, Fields starts going to his regular classes and has an advising meeting in between. Once his academic day is done, Fields returns to the field and has practice from three in the afternoon to six in the evening. This is his daily routine, and it does not account for travel and game day.

“This is my job, this is my job,” said Fields. “We don’t literally get paid upfront with it, but this is what I do for a living.”

Since usual game time occurs on Saturdays, the team returns to campus late at night. The following morning, the team holds their weekly Sunday meetings, a few hours of practice and then study hall for about two hours at night. Fields believes that with this non-stop ongoing schedule, student athletes deserve to and need to be paid.

“The amount of hours we put into doing this, the time we have to be up, the time we go to sleep, the things you have to remember, the things you got to do,” said Fields. “You know a normal student, you can just go to class and go do whatever you want the rest of the day. We are living on a time schedule from the time we wake up, to the time we go to sleep. There is no stopping.”

Najae Brown, also a junior and a safety for the team, agrees with Fields and says the team works hard enough to get compensation that he believes they deserve.

“We do put in a lot of work, going to workouts, practice and then going to class,” said Brown. “We should get a little something, not like overly paid, but something.”

According to the Department of Athletics Assistant for Communication and Media Services Thomas Pincince, 274 out of 403 student-athletes receive some form of athletics aid, while 82 are on a full scholarship.

Fields and Brown are two of those 82, but it doesn’t mean they are never tight on money, typically turning to their parents if they need the extra cash for necessities, such as food. Fields explains how many of his teammates and other athletes in the school are constantly struggling financially, and are not as lucky as him who can turn to their parents for financial support.

“All my friends play Division I football and you know, they will send texts to me of them starving and they’ll be hungry, you know what I am saying. They are tight on money,” said Fields. “The café is closed and that’s where they usually get their food from, the café. So, let’s say they are on scholarships, they have meal plans. A lot of people say you are on a meal plan, there is nothing to be complaining about. What happens when the café closes, where do you go when the café closes? You open your fridge and there is nothing but water in there.”

Although the Department of Athletics at CCSU has a good understanding of the hours student athletes dedicate to the school and to the sport, there is just not enough money to pay the athletes, according to Pincince.

“I do understand some of the hardships that might come with that (being a student athlete), you know the ability to work and have a job to get some extra money,” said Pincince. “What makes it difficult at a place like Central Connecticut is the money factor. The reality is that an athletic department our size and our budget, we don’t have the money to pay student athletes. It is just the reality. We faced budget cuts each of the last few years.”

The CCSU Department of Athletics most recent budget cut amassed to be $300,000, according to CCSU Athletics Director Paul Schlickmann. With this cut, it makes the task of student athletes getting paid that much more difficult at Central.

“We understand that athletics is not unique in the challenges that come with the state financial picture, the direct impact it has had on the University and the challenges presented to each area of the institution to do more with less,” said Schlickmann. “We are committed to maintaining high expectations and providing our student-athletes with the best experience possible during their time at CCSU.”

The 2016 football season featured the Blue Devils turning in a record of 2-10. That record brought in a revenue of approximately $194,000, this includes game guarantees and ticket profits, according to Pincince.

Although that number is not millions like other colleges, such as Notre Dame or Ohio State, Fields believes their team brings in just enough to give attention and publicity to the university.

“Me playing a Division I sport, I see all the fan bases, the things that we bring in and you know, like the venues, like when the games are sold out, all of that. They are there for us,” said Fields. “We should be getting paid for the things we bring to the school and the time we put into it. People only see the games and what we are doing at the games, but people don’t see what’s going on behind that Saturday night or that Friday evening on game day.”

However, sophomore and quarterback Jacob Dolegala, understands why the team does not get paid because of the complexity that goes into making a system work, and simply because CCSU does not have the budget like other universities. However, he wouldn’t mind making the extra bucks throughout the semester.

“It would help to have that extra money on the side,” said Dolegala. “I know for a fact we [university] don’t [have enough money]. We have to win more, and we are planning on changing that, but we just have to win.”

Although several players from the football team hope to get paid sometime soon, that may be a scenario far out of reach. With not a high amount of revenue, budget cuts and for a small university compared to Alabama State, getting paid is not an option right now or in the near future for the Blue Devils.

How One Undocumented Student Found a Home at Central

by Cindy Pena

Jose Diaz goes through the same struggles as any college student at Central Connecticut State University; manages to keep his grades up, stresses over finals and pays for the increasing cost of tuition.

However, he faces one constant struggle many students cannot relate to: he is undocumented.

Diaz is in the U.S. on a work permit and protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an immigration program that protects people who came into the U.S. as children. 16,000 individuals live under DACA in Connecticut. Only 18 percent have a high school diploma and are enrolled in college.

Although he is protected from deportation, he still fears for other undocumented individuals.

“Many people in CCSU and in the town of New Britain, that I know personally, are scared because all things they are hearing in the news and on the TV. They are afraid on what could happen to them,” said Diaz. “It’s different knowing that all those things that they are saying could happen. Although I am under DACA, it’s still scary.”

He has advocated for the cause of undocumented immigrants on and off campus through his speeches in events, interviews with news outlets and participation in clubs.

His voice on campus has helped many students who feel they can’t disclose their legal status in fear of how people will respond and treat them.

“I want to prove people that we are not the way you think we are. I just want to fight, not only for my family, but other students who feel that they don’t have a voice,” said Diaz. “We just want an opportunity. We just want people to see us the way we are. I don’t want people to judge us because we are undocumented or because we don’t have a piece of paper. That shouldn’t define us.”

However, he doesn’t want to be the only one fighting for this cause.

“I want to be that catalyst, I want to be that first person, but hopefully other people can come out later on,” said Diaz. “They shouldn’t be afraid to speak up, there is a support system here. That way, the school and others can see that there are others as well and it’s not just Jose.”

One support system that Diaz has leaned on is the Social Justice Committee of the Student Government Association.

The SJC organized a lobbying effort to push for the Afford to Dream Act and a rally in support of immigrants. Diaz and members of the SJC collaborated in both these efforts.

“I think that the SGA and the Social Justice Committee has helped a lot and they will continue to help even more. I think that they always have done everything that they can to support,” said Diaz. “We work together to come up with different ways that can help the undocumented students and help them succeed in school as well.”

The SJC and Diaz’ goal by organizing these efforts is to educate the CCSU community and change the common misconceptions people have on undocumented individuals.

“I think that most of the time that people are against immigration or the issue of undocumented immigrants is because they don’t know what’s going on. They are misinformed,” said Diaz. “People think they don’t pay taxes, that they are criminals, that they are bringing drugs and that’s not true. So, one of the things that I am doing is showing people that I am undocumented, but I am not a criminal. I am in school, I am trying to do my best to contribute to the community and help others. I am not a burden.”

CCSU and its many programs to protect undocumented students have created a safe place for Diaz and others; something he is truly grateful for.

“I think that CCSU is one of the schools that I personally feel safe, mainly because the way they have been reacting to all the things that’s been going on,” said Diaz. “All the things I have done here on campus, they have reacted positively. They always look to me and ask if I need anything else or if they needed my help to do something or needed my opinion. I feel like that actually matters because other universities will not take the initiative.”

CCSU Community Stands In Solidarity With Student Immigrants

by Cindy Pena

President Donald Trump’s promise for immigration reform is becoming a reality. Its impact on Connecticut immigrants are grave, according to Joanne Lewis, managing attorney at Connecticut Legal Services.

“For the most part, the immigration orders have created a lot of fear and uncertainty, which is maybe part of what they were designed to do,” said Lewis. “A lot of people are starting to be afraid to leave their houses, a lot of kids are afraid to go to school because they don’t know if mommy and daddy are going to be there when they get home. They don’t know what to do because they are afraid that they are going to become targets.”

The new immigration orders have also impacted students at Central Connecticut State University, both directly and indirectly. Christopher Marinelli, chair of the Social Justice Committee of the Student Government Association, is witnessing the repercussions of it as he works with undocumented students.

“It definitely has a significant impact on the students. When you have this rhetoric coming from the president and the administration and then you actually see actual action take place. People are genuinely afraid to talk out about these issues,” said Marinelli. “It’s actually scary.”

The SJC strives to protect undocumented students on campus. Members of the SJC began a lobbying effort for the Afford to Dream Bill.

The House Bill 7000 and Senate Bill 17 make up the Afford to Dream Bill.  This state legislation would allow undocumented “dreamers” to use institutional aid that they already help finance by paying tuition. Undocumented students cannot use this aid because they do not have a social security number that is required to fill out the financial aid application.

Lewis, who has given legal advice to students, is an advocate for the bill.

“I think it’s basic fairness that these students pay into this pool and they are not, unlike other students, eligible for other assistance. So they should be eligible to get money out of this pool,” said Lewis.

Marinelli and other members of the SJC go to the capital building and meet with state legislatures to push for this Senate and House bill.

Shortly after Trump passed Executive Order 13767, “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” the SJC organized a rally “to stand in solidarity with undocumented students, those protected by DACA and our fellow Muslim students.” The SJC mentioned the two bills in the rally that was held on Feb. 2.

“The rally was more to get passion and motivation and people charged up and aware,” said Marinelli. “So we had the rally and the objective was to present these two bills.”

Besides the SJC efforts, there are other events hosted at CCSU that educate and provide support for immigrants. The panel held on April 11 with Veronika Mendoza sparked conversations with the community and students on the impact of the Trump administration to Latin American immigrants.

“It’s important in the university and in the young generation that there is a reflection on this xenophobia that’s growing in the world and what this means for humanity,” said Mendoza, leader of the “Nuevo Peru” political party and the presidential candidate for Peru in 2016. “It’s a threat to human rights. We should move forward towards unity, not backwards.”

Her political movement, Nuevo Peru, strives to eradicate human rights violations and discrimination in the undocumented community in Latin America and the United States. Therefore, immigration policy is an important issue for her.

“Being Peruvian, being Latin American, I identify myself with them. I see them as my brothers and sisters. I am worried on what could happen to them so I want to listen and hear from them directly. I want to know what I can do from Peru and from Latin America to help them,” said Mendoza. “It’s important in these moments that not just in the United States, but also in Latin American communities that we stand together in solidarity and support immigrants.”

Eduardo Gonzalez, Consulate General from Peru, also emphasized this mission.

“We are doing all we can to stay in touch with the local authorities of every state and federal government in embassy at Washington D.C.,” said Gonzalez. “You are not alone, we are working very hard for you.”

Ultimately, these events and groups on campus’ main goal is to educate the students. Marinelli emphasized how education can create solidarity in diversity at CCSU.

“A big thing is misinformation. A lot of apathy for undocumented student comes with a lack of knowledge on what it means to be undocumented and to be under DACA. A lot of people don’t understand that there is not a pathway to citizenship for the students, unless you join the military,” said Marinelli. “By raising awareness and having these events, we can get the conversations going so people know the different complexities on this faction of the population.”

Blue Devil Softball Stomp All Over Mount St. Mary’s University

by Kimberly Pena

Led by Karleigh Edward’s three RBI and Sarah Ogilvie’s two RBI afternoon, the Blue Devils stomped over Mount St. Mary’s University with an 11-1 victory. On a partly sunny Friday afternoon, Central Connecticut State University took advantage of Marian Ruf’s poor outing to improve their record to 9-19 for the season.

The damage began in the first inning when Alexis Debrosse led off the inning with a walk, after a pass ball and a strikeout to Brittany Camara, Britanny McNulla followed up with an RBI single. One batter later, Edward hit an RBI double to make the score 2-0. Ogilvie then hit an RBI single to make it 3-0.

Pitcher Alexandra Casañas continued her streak of good pitching, only allowing one run over five-innings, three hits, two walks and a strikeout. Casañas has now won three straight starts, permitting four earned runs over a span of 20 innings, dropping her ERA to 3.59.

“Alex does a great job of hitting her spots and keeping hitters off balance with her off speed pitches, said Edwards. “She is an important part of our pitching staff along with our two other pitchers.”

In the second inning, the Blue Devils increased their lead with Debrosse doing some of the damage with a two-run home, scoring Alicia Bertolino to make the score 5-0. It is Debrosse’s fourth homerun of the year.

But the big blow came in the fourth-inning, when CCSU sent 10 batters to the plate, scoring six runs on an already shaky Ruf. Tori Constantin led off the inning with a double, while Bertolino reached on a defensive misplay by second baseman Morgan Alisauckas. Two outs later, Camra walked to load the bases and McNulla walked to bring in a run.

With the bases still loaded, Kerri Dadalski singled in two more runs and advanced to second on the throw, extending the lead 8-0. The power duo of Edwards and Ogilvie came to bat back-to-back, with Edwards bringing in two more runs and Ogilvie scoring Edwards to end the afternoon for Ruf.

“I think in those situations I am just looking for a good pitch to drive in runners with,” said Edwards.

“Our offense can be extremely powerful and dangerous when everyone works together to string along some hits and puts pressure on the defense,” said Ogilvie.

Ruf’s final line was three and two-third innings, 11 runs, five earned, four walks and three strikeouts, giving her five losses in the season versus two wins.

Casañas kept the Mountaineers hitless in the last two innings, ending the game after five innings.

Moving forward, the team knows there are still changes to be made to continue on the success like Friday afternoon’s victory.

” I think that our team needs to continue to stay focused on both offense and defense and take it one game at a time, not thinking too far in advance,” said Edwards.

But the team knows if they can stick together, they can do just that.

“Our team chemistry is great both on and off the field,” said Ogilvie.  “We all have so much fun during practices and games; we all get along really well and all want to play and win for one another.”

The Blue Devils go on to face Saint Francis University on Sunday, April, 23, in a double-header. First pitch for game one is set for 12 p.m.

Was the Pepsi Commercial Really that Controversial?

by Kimberly Pena

Pepsi and Kendall Jenner have been under attack after the release of a new commercial which some viewers felt was a mockery of the marches and protests happening around the country, specifically the Black Lives Matter movement.

The roughly two-and-a-half minute commercial begins with Jenner doing a photo shoot while a protest is occurring in the street next to her. As the commercial progresses, Jenner decides to ditch the photo shoot and join the march. She then approaches a police officer and hands him a Pepsi drink and everyone ends up cheering and applauding.

Activist DeRay McKesson tweeted out, “If I had carried Pepsi I guess I never would’ve gotten arrested. Who knew?” Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., also tweeted “If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi.”

Due to the negative backlash, Pepsi has retracted the commercial and issued an apology. “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” the company said last Wednesday in a statement. “Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”

Although it is clear why the commercial has been viewed as offensive and insensitive, it seems very unlikely that was the message Pepsi was trying to market. The video demonstrated human beings from all different backgrounds coming together for one common cause; harmony.

The handing off of the Pepsi drink to the officer and the cheering on afterwards was also controversial, but the way I saw it, it was an opportunity for Pepsi to advertise their drink and use it as a moment to symbolize peace — not that a Pepsi can solve everyone’s problems as some people are trying to put it.

However, it must be noted that people do come from different backgrounds and perceive things in different ways, so all views should be respected, especially to those who may have been offended.

Although seen as controversial by some, it should be noted that the ad did continue the ongoing conversation of the social injustices and movements going on around the country today. It did unite the internet and in a way made everyone speak about Pepsi; just maybe not the way that the company had hoped for.

If there should be any positive takeaway from the approximately three-minute video, people from different ethnic, cultural, religious or whatever backgrounds can come together and fight for whatever they may believe in, even if it means to come together against a Pepsi commercial.

Blue Devils Softball Split Double Header After A Tough Start

 

The Blue Devils are now 3-5 in conference play

by Kimberly Pena and Brennah Dallaire 

Game 1

The Central Connecticut State University Softball team faced Bryant University in a double header at Arute field this past Saturday. After a strong performance by pitcher Emily Sargent, the CCSU offense couldn’t come through with the big hit.

Sargent was efficient as she pitched all seven innings and saw 30 batters. Sargent cites some of her performance highs as contributing to “getting out of some tough spots with runners on base in the first and fourth innings.”

“Our defense played well with runners in scoring position, and held them to only three runs on eight hits,” said Sargent.

Sargent could not find the strike zone when she walked in a run in the second inning. After throwing a wild pitch that hit Bryant’s center fielder, Haylee Haas, catcher Robyn Ukegawa scored the first run of the game. Sargent also gave up a home run in the third to Bryant University’s short stop, Marianna Politis.

Politis’s teammates congratulated her at home plate after she hit the only home run of the game over the left field wall.

After a slow start offensively, the Blue Devils picked up momentum in the third inning. Central’s right fielder, Kerri Dadalski doubled to right center field sending catcher, Brittany McNulla to third and center fielder, Brittany Camara in to score. Central’s second baseman, Kaitlin Paterson followed up with a single through the left side, sending McNulla in to score Central’s second and last run of the game.

In the sixth inning, Bryant’s third baseman, Rachel Monroe tripled to right center. With Monroe in scoring position, Gabrielle Ermish hit an RBI single to center field and the Bulldogs took a 3-2 lead over the Blue Devils.

“I think that offensively we put up a good fight, but struggled stringing together the hits that could’ve given us one or two more runs,” said Sargent.

“We showed up to win two games today, played hard and unfortunately fell short by one run in game one,” said Sargent.

Kaitlin Paterson dives for grounder

Game 2 

After dropping their first game of a double-header in a heartbreaking 3-2 loss, the Central Connecticut State University softball team redeemed themselves with a 4-1 win over Bryant University on a windy Saturday afternoon. The win improved the CCSU’s record to 6-16 for the season.

Pitcher Alex Casañas threw a complete game of one-run ball against the Bull Dogs, giving Casañas her first win of the season and dropping her ERA to 4.96 for the season. The only blemish in Casañas outing came from an RBI single by Gabrielle Ermish in the second inning.

“Today I focused more on the small details and just trying to focus on each pitch I threw to the batters and as a team we focused on winning each inning,” said Casañas. “My changeup was working great today, so I threw that way more often than I normally do.”

Unlike the first game, the Blue Devils provided much more offense, scoring four runs in the third inning to back up the strong performance by Casañas. Tori Constantin led off the inning with a single, Emily Cronnin followed up with a walk and a bunt single by Alexis Debrosse loaded up the bases. Brittany Camara came through with a two-run scoring single to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.

“It was great though to see my team hitting like I know they can,” said Casañas. “When your team is able to back you up offensively, it makes the game a lot easier for the pitcher.”

Brittany McNulla then hit a sacrifice fly, increasing the Blue Devils lead to 3-1. The inning was capped off by an RBI single by Kaleigh Edwards, scoring Camara to give the Blue Devils a 4-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

“Some changes that we made between games was that we reset our mindset and realized that we needed to string some hits together and tally up some more runs, which we did,” said Sargent.

Casañas surrendered only one hit after the second inning, breezing right through the Bull Dogs offense.

“The defense did another great job and backed up our sophomore pitcher Alex Casañas for her first win in the circle,” said Sargent.

Alexis Debrosse lines a ball into play

Although the team has been off to a rocky start, the team is hoping with the win a lot more W’s can come their way.

“I hope that we as a team can move forward with a lot more confidence to finish off the season with the wins we need, and the right mindset to win the conference,” said Casañas.

The Blue Devils move on to Mount Saint Mary’s University on Friday, April 14 for a double-header. First pitch for game one is set for 1 p.m.

Blue Devils Softball Get Swept Under Their Feet in Double-Header

by Kimberly Pena & Brennah Dallaire

Game One

Central Connecticut States University’s Women’s Softball team failed to take off in the first of two games against Robert Morris at home on Sunday. The Colonials disproved the home field advantage after overpowering the Blue Devils in a 3-1 win.

The Colonials dominated the plate in the top of the first, scoring two runs. Robert Morris third baseman, Olivia Lorusso, homered to left center, scoring her first run of the game. Robert Morris shortstop Natalie Higgins followed up with a double to right center, sending Abrielle McCartney to score.

Lack of power at the plate made the game uneventful until the Colonials scored again in the top of the third inning. Higgins reached on a fielders choice, allowing Colonials second baseman Stacy Capp to score.

It wasn’t until it was too late, during the bottom of the seventh, that the Blue Devils made a scoring play. CCSU centerfielder Brittany Camara reached first on an error. Blue Devils third baseman Alicia Bertolini followed up with a single down the right field line, allowing Camara to advance to second. On a wild pitch, Bertolini advanced to second and Camara advanced to third. CCSU shortstop Alexis Debrosse singled to shortstop, allowing Camara to score.

CCSU pitcher Emily Sargent faced 28 batters and allowed only seven hits. Sargent allowed three runs, three earned runs and one homerun. She struck out four batters and sent only one batter to base on balls.

Roger Morris pitcher Kaitlin Ellzy faced 29 batters and allowed six hits. Ellzy allowed one run and sent four batters to base on balls. She struck out four batters.

Brittany Camara went two for three against the Colonials in the loss.

Game Two

The Blue Devils softball team fell short of what would have been an uplifting comeback with a 5-4 loss in their second double-header game against Robert Morris University.

On a fielder’s choice, Taylor Bartlow scored the winning run in the final inning to claim victory for the Colonials. The Blue Devils dropped their record to 4-14 and 0-2 on North East Conference play.

RMU got off to a quick start in the first inning to support their starting pitcher, Laura Coulter. With Jordan Gurganus on base following an error by third baseman Sarah Ogilvie, Olivia Lorusso hit her first of two two-run jacks, giving the Colonials a 2-0 lead.

Central Connecticut State University had an opportunity to answer back in the bottom of the first, but with two runners on base and two outs, Ogilvie struck out.

Lorusso struck with Gurganus on base once again in the third inning, extending RMU’s lead 4-0 and giving Lorusso a game-leading four RBIs. CCSU starting pitcher Alex Casanas surrendered four runs, two earned, in four innings of work.

The Blue Devils remained quiet until the fifth inning, when they charged back with two runs of their own. Alexis Debrosse hit an RBI double, scoring Emily Cronin from first and Kerri Dadalski hit an RBI sacrifice fly to score Debrosse, cutting the lead 4-2.

CCSU would eventually tie the game in the sixth inning. Kaitlin Patterson led off the inning with a double and would score on a single by Kaleigh Edwards. Edwards found her way to third on an error and a sacrifice bunt by Tori Constantin. Alicia Bertolino came in to pinch hit for Emily Cronin with a runner on third and one out. Coulter surrendered an RBI groundout, allowing the game to tie 4-4.

However, the Colonials answered with a run of their own in the seventh to grab the 5-4 lead off of reliever pitcher Emily Sargent. The Blue Devils bats would go quietly in the bottom of the inning against Kaitlin Ellzy, sealing the victory for the Colonials.

The Blue Devils will face off against Bryant University on a double-header Saturday, April 8. with the first pitch to be thrown at 1 p.m.

It’s Still Complicated for Student Athletes

by Kimberly Pena

The question of whether college athletes should be paid is highly debated in the world of sports and beyond. These college athletes spend many hours training, working out, studying films and on top of that, they are students.

It is not easy to be a college athlete because of all the accompanying responsibilities and the pressure to succeed. Simply being a student can be tough on a person.

However, there are many other factors that contribute to whether a student should be paid to play a sport. These students know what they were getting into when playing a sport at a university and must understand that it will be their responsibility to manage a job if it is necessary to sustain themselves.

There are those who believe that athletes must learn how to take the highs with the lows of being a student athlete. It is tough, but that is what these students signed up for.

With that being said, there must be some form of sympathy for these players because they simply love the game too much and it means too much to them to just give it up and only be a student.

But, there are solutions for those student athletes who find it difficult to manage a job in their busy schedules. Their own school may offer part-time jobs to their students that accommodate their schedule.

Many university jobs understand a student’s busy schedule and will work with them to meet their needs, while providing the student with extra cash to spend.

Until there is a system that pays student athletes fairly and thoroughly, there isn’t much universities can do to resolve this debated issue. The complications grow when factors such as who is paid and how much they should be paid are taken into consideration.

Universities already provide several of their athletes scholarships and grants that amount to some or all of their tuition. There are also tutoring and other academic programs to help student athletes keep up with their academics.

Then there is the side of those students who work full-time and are excellent students and still cannot afford to pay their tuition. There is no  sympathy for those students in how they can settle their financial restrictions.

No one said being a college student was going to be easy and sometimes going through a little financial hardship makes a person grow and better appreciate the little things in life.

Sports are essential in a university. It teaches students many skills such as working as a team, responsibility, socialization skills and work ethic, among other values.

However, student athletes should not get paid until there is a system that works and complies with the needs of every student athlete.

Divisi Sings Through the Night

by Cindy Pena

The singing voices of Central Connecticut State University’s Divisi a cappella group echoed Welte Auditorium last Saturday night.

With their unique rendition of popular and classic songs and an appearance from CCSU’s female a cappella group, TGFI, and UCONN’s a cappella group, A Minor, the concert was very different from their other concerts, according to Ray Jackson.

“We have invested a lot into this concert; money, time, practice, everything. So, it’s going to be one to remember,” said Jackson, director of Divisi.

The free concert attracted over two hundred students and members of the public who sang and cheered on with the singers. Some were even left emotional, like Emily MacVane.

“They were incredible. Like one of their songs really really got to me. I don’t remember what the name was, but they were incredible, honestly,” said MacVane, singer in TGFI who sang her first solo in the concert.

Connie Rubitz, an incoming student, agreed.

“I felt nostalgia a little. I could feel the bond between them,” said Rubitz.

This reaction is what Jackson was aiming for. He emphasized the importance of getting a positive response to the message of their music.

“I’m hoping that the audience leaves with an unforgettable experience and feeling. That we move people, not just entertain, but move people and touch their hearts,” said Jackson. “If there is someone crying tears of joy, that would be a sense of accomplishment.”

The success of the concert did not come easily. From promoting the event on social media to long rehearsals beginning back in January, they were able to set the date for April 1, the earliest they ever had their concert.

“Rehearsals have been very efficient, very quick-paced, having to pick up things quickly,” said Antonio La Rosa, a member for four years. “We are very impressed with how much work the entire group has put in because it’s been very fast paced, more than I’ve ever seen in my time in Divisi.”

The group was also preparing for a competition. They made it to the semi-finals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, the first time in Divisi history. Their hard work and team collaboration allowed them to balance both major events. Divisi member Alexander O’Niel says the group’s ambition was demonstrated in rehearsals.

“I think there has been such a feeling of drive this semester in particular. Because we have certain aspirations and goals that I think having those in mind really lets the group rise to the occasion,” said O’Niel.

This concert was a special one for many members of the group. La Rosa accentuated how, as it was his and four of his best friend’s last concert as a group, it will be one to remember.

“We were all in the group together throughout the past four years, so it’s kind of like the end of our era,” said La Rosa. “It’s going to be a special experience that we worked our way up to since our freshmen year.”

La Rosa emphasized that, despite the hard work and long hours put into the concert, their main goal was to have fun.

“Not worry if we make a mistake or not, it’s not really about that. It’s just about having a good time and enjoying the accomplishment that we made and to celebrate the success of this semester,” said La Rosa.

Ali Hooker is Making a Comeback

by Lauren Lustgarten

There are about 250,000 to 300,000 ACL injuries per year, and the majority of those injuries are happening to athletes. “You always hear about athletes tearing their ACLs, but you never think it is going to be you,“ said member of the Central Connecticut State University Women’s Lacrosse team, senior Ali Hooker.

On March 12, 2016, on Arute Field against Iona College, Hooker became one of those statistics. She landed the wrong way while going to cage, resulting in a completely-torn left ACL and a half-torn left meniscus.

“I have never went down in a game before, so I knew it was a serious injury as soon as I hit the ground. To validate it, I even heard the famous ‘pop,'” said Hooker.

The thoughts racing through an athletes’ mind when they go down in a game are all over the place. For Hooker, she had no doubt that her life was about to change.

“I heard the pop and I just knew. At that moment, all I kept thinking was that my season was over when it had just begun,” said Hooker. “As soon as the trainer told me he thought it was my ACL, I immediately asked ‘well, can I still play on it?’”

That question quickly got shot down the next day when Hooker saw her doctor, who confirmed that she did tear her ACL and had a partially torn meniscus, which refrains athletes from playing without surgery.

For some athletes, they only care about how their injury is going to affect them and how they are going to handle it. While that was a thought in Hooker’s mind, she also thought much about her team.

“I was nervous for them. I knew I was needed out there and for some reason I didn’t feel bad for myself, I felt bad for my team that I couldn’t be out on that field with them anymore,” said Hooker.

She explains her experience of watching her eventually 3-13 team struggle out on the field as frustrating and miserable. “Not being able to do anything other than try to coach my teammates and talk to them off the field was really hard. Every aspect of this injury is horrible and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy,” said Hooker.

Post-surgery is the hardest time for athletes. While that is the time to start rehabbing and get stronger to get back on the field, it is also a mind game. Hooker started physical therapy the day after her surgery to try to get her flexion and extension back in her knee. From then on, she attended physical therapy four times a week for three hours each session. The normal recovery time for an ACL tear is six to 12 months. It is expected that athletes start to lose motivation.

“Right after surgery, I was hopeful. My mindset was that I needed to do everything I could to get stronger and get back better than ever for myself and my team,” said Hooker. “Around five months out of surgery, I lost steam and motivation. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I still went to all of my physical therapy sessions and I still worked hard, but I still felt at five months along, I was not going anywhere. I knew I still had months to go, so it became increasingly harder to go through those motions everyday.”

Hooker fought through and nine months after surgery, after almost one year of telling herself “It will be worth it in the end,” she was back. “I just had to keep saying that I didn’t go through 10 months of not being able to play the sport I love for nothing.”

Hooker’s first game back was on Feb. 18, against Quinnipiac University. For someone who usually never got nervous for games, she was terrified. “I felt good and I felt excited, but boy, was I anxious,” said Hooker. “I ended up playing better than I thought I would as I was convinced my nerves were going to consume me. I also always hear stories about athletes coming back and tearing their ACLs again, so I thought that I was going to be cautious and timid with my playing. But, once that whistle blew, I knew I had to make my mark again.”

So she did. By the second game, Hooker took back her spot as a starter and three games into the season, she has one goal and three assists. She feels that trusting the process and trusting that she did everything for a reason really is going to set the tone for the rest of the season.

“My advice to any athlete that may go through an injury like this, is to simply never give up and push yourself. It’s not supposed to be easy.” Hooker’s surgeon always told her something that has gotten her through: “It’s 10 percent what your surgeon does and 90 percent the work you put in after.”

Hooker wants athletes who may find themselves in her position to realize it is just another roadblock and you can and will overcome it.

“This injury will not only make you a stronger athlete, but also a stronger person. It has taught me to make the most of a bad situation and as backwards as it sounds, if this has to happen to you, this injury does have the ability to change you for the better if you let it.”