Seven new teams will be joining the Lone Star Conference this fall which spells trouble for some teams.
With the new schools coming into the conference, only six of them have softball teams. This change only causes more expenses, than new competition though. This is because the softball team usually sees these teams at other competitions like Oklahoma Christian University.
“For us, we usually see those teams periodically in a tournament somewhere,” Mark Ryal, head coach of softball, said.
Ryal said he is still worried about the new changes to the conference.
“The biggest problem the new tournament is going to possess, is that they don’t have the final schedule finalized because there are still some glitches to the way they have it set up,” Ryal said.
He sees this becoming a problem because in the schedule that he has seen, the softball team starts playing the third week in January, a problem since they usually have January off to coincide with travel partners Tarleton State University.
“Our conference is usually set up where we have the whole month of January off and the first week of March is off because of Tarleton is what is called our travel partners,” Ryal said.
Further, Ryal sees problems in this plan because of the lack of money and transportation.
“Financially there is going to be more bus trips, more hotel expenses and we already have a problem with not just us but other schools have a problem finding bus drivers,” Ryal said.
Looking at how much it is going to cost, he does not think it is a smart plan. Ryal also talked about in this new schedule they propose there will be no time to move up or back games that might get rained out.
“We were supposed to play Friday and Saturday this weekend and there is bad weather coming in on Saturday and so we had to move the games up to today and tomorrow. In the new scheduling you can’t do that,” Ryal said.
He also had a problem with the number of times athletes would miss classes.
“You are going to have to leave on Wednesday, You play a doubleheader on Thursday then you travel to your next destination on Friday. So they are going to miss Wednesday, Thursday and Friday classes,” Ryal said.
These new changes will cause some major impact on students’ lives in juggling their sports and academic life. If they are far away and have to come back on a Sunday night than they would be coming back Monday morning and have to immediately jump into classes which would cause more stress.
“You’re going to ask your team to play a doubleheader on Sunday, you will pull out of there at seven o’clock at night,” Ryal said. “Now you are going to have 10 to 11-hour drive coming back on Sunday night so they won’t get here until Monday morning at 5 a.m.”
He said right after they get home some of them may have 8 a.m. classes so they would have to get off the bus “get home, get showered and walk right into class.”
Ryal thinks the conference should be divided into an eastern section and a west section. This would help with lesser traveling games, meaning the prices would not increase for travel and hotels.
“What you do is you play everyone on your side when you play half of the other conference, to fill in your midweek game,” Ryal said. “ we had five trips this year and this year you are looking at possibly nine to 10 trips.”
With an increase in the amount of travel that softball is going to have to do with this new schedule Ryal’s worry is that now they are going to have to charter buses. This would cause more money to be needed and the softball budget is not being increased anytime soon.
Nathan Ampil, freshman psychology, talks about budgets when told about the new expenses with no budget increase said “That is insane, how can anyone think that this could be possible.”
Nathan also thought that the people who came up with this plan did not consider all sports and factor in the schools’ budgets when making the schedule.
“I can see where they were trying to come from but before they made the schedule they should have confirmed it with schools before making it,” Ampil said.
With the softball budget at $289,389 for the following academic year they are looking for solutions to the upcoming problems. This coming with them projecting 4,000 in ticket sales. The biggest portion of the budget is the amount they get from the fees which is $234,989.