Despite a new state-of-the-art facility, Marist athletes are upset over lack of access to varsity weight room.
For 18 months, athletes at Marist College were forced to move from the James J. McCann Center weight room to a tent with asphalt poured as its foundation. The temporary fixture was located adjacent to the McCann Center as it underwent massive renovations that began in June of 2018. The project, which was originally projected to be finished in the fall of 2019, has been met with a mostly warm welcome since its opening in January of 2020. It includes state of the art weight rooms for both varsity sports and the general student population, as well as two full-size indoor basketball courts and a multi-purpose turf room. All this seems to be a huge upgrade from lifting in a tent on a slight downward slope. However, after originally rejoicing to move out of the tent issues remain as athletes now experience a restriction in their ability to workout.
During the week the varsity weight room is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. but the hours athletes can actually workout are much more limited. Due to the size of the teams, athletes can’t workout at the same time as the football and men’s lacrosse team. As a result, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. every day except Wednesday and from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, athletes can’t use the varsity weight room. Then, hours become restricted in the evening when the weight room is opened exclusively to club athletes and teams from 5 p.m. until closing at 10 p.m. Even on the weekends the time allotted to athletes is restricted to 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and access is given to club sports from 5:45 p.m. to 8 p.m.
While at first glance this appears to be plenty of time for athletes to get additional workouts, that is just not the reality for a Division I athlete. Senior football player Randy Paul thinks some people misunderstand how challenging the time restraints are for student-athletes. “Between our commitment to sports, class, studying, as well as any jobs or internships, our time is extremely limited,” he said. He continued to emphasize how important that extra time could be. “Being able to workout from at night when club sports lift would allow us a time to continue to work on our craft at a time outside of the typical hours of our other engagements.”
Some of the workers in the McCann Center varsity weight room say that same sentiment is echoed amongst many of the varsity teams. “I’ve had to turn away athletes from our football, lacrosse and soccer teams during club lifting hours when the weight room only has a few athletes in them,” said Cade Mcnaughton, a senior at Marist. Mcnaughton’s co-worker, Colin Moran, also a senior at Marist, has experienced this as well. “When the clubs teams are lifting I have had to turn away a ton of lacrosse players looking to get a lift past 6 p.m,” said Moran.
After spending a portion of their athletics career lifting in a tent, athletes expected their struggle to end once Marist spent $33 million on its new facilities. Yet, athletes still feel as if they are fighting against their own athletic department to reach their full athletic potential.
Zak Harkenrider, Assistant AD for Facilities and Operations, declined to comment on this story and why hours are limited for athletes within the varsity weight room.