Kristen Grattan | Staff Writer
With the basketball season concluded, the women’s team traveled to 14 away games this year. The team was able to fly to their away games. However, this has not always been the case. The 2016-2017 season was the first year the women’s basketball team traveled to their games via plane instead of taking a bus to each game.
Traveling expenses are not paid for by the university. Instead, both teams rely on donations made to the program to fund their travels.
“We certainly appreciate the donors’ generosity because it helps us get places easier and faster,” junior Joel Gabriele said.
Gabriele has been on the men’s basketball team for two years and has contributed to the team’s success both years.
“For the past 10 to 15 years we have been the top of our conference,” Gabriele said. “People just tend to support teams that are successful, and our team has been very successful.”
The women’s team does not have as much funding for travel as the men’s team which makes it harder for the women’s team to have the same luxuries.
Those luxuries would include the men’s team traveling by plane to their conference games, while the women would have to travel by bus to their conference games. This past season, however, the women’s team was able to fly to their away games. But only 12 of the women’s players could fly whereas the men’s team entire roster would be able to fly.
“I see the girls practicing and working on their game just as much as we do,” Gabriele said. “It’s just unfortunate that they don’t get the necessary money to experience flying as opposed to long bus rides.”
The men’s team seeks out donations and are able to get them because of how successful they have been currently, and in past seasons.
“We have to have donations to schedule games,” assistant men’s basketball coach Damion Jablonski said.
Jablonski said the men’s team tries to seek out donations and is very strategic on what to raise and then work with that.
This leaves the women’s team at a disadvantage when traveling. The women players are forced to leave classes earlier and miss more school because they have to hit the road sooner than the men’s team because they are traveling by bus.
“Traveling in winter can be treacherous, and games get postponed so we try and fly to help avoid bad conditions,” Jablonski said. “It helps give us the competitive advantage when we fly rather than traveling by bus.”
The women’s team however is not shaken by the difference in donations provided to the men and women’s team.
“In today’s society, men’s teams are generally more popular and have better records; it just really comes down to popularity,” junior Callie Harwood said.
Harwood says the women’s team was able to fly to every conference game this season. She says flying saved time and made it so the team wouldn’t miss as much class because they could leave later in the day.
“The men’s team gets to fly their entire roster, whereas we only fly 12 of our players,” Harwood said. “That’s just what our budget allows.”
Harwood says this is the first year that the women’s team has been able to fly to conference games. In previous years, the women’s team would travel to the away games by bus. Harwood says that she looks back on the three years of traveling and that the best times would be spent on the bus rides.
“Our coach would wake us up on the bus to play games,” Harwood said. “We would always bond and laugh at the fact we were all delirious from being exhausted from playing and traveling.”
Contact Kristen Grattan at email@example.com