Greek-affiliated athletes sacrifice aspects of participation to compete

Hailey Livingston, Sports reporter

While the spring semester has affected all members of the athletics department, those belonging to Greek life have been unable to experience fraternity and sorority life in the same way they did in the past.

The regulations regarding COVID-19 and athletes in fraternity houses have been largely successful in keeping students and staff safe. However, they have significantly affected the dynamic between these two groups. Because safety measures are being implemented so strictly, athletes who belong to Greek organizations cannot go inside their houses, chapter rooms or even meet up with their brothers or sisters.

Sophomore Riley Kraft from the men’s soccer team was able to relate to this issue. As a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon he has experienced the new dynamic between soccer and TKE.

“Being in a sport has been super hard socially. I am very isolated from my friends that are not on the team. And over time it gets difficult,” Kraft said. “I think the distance that’s been created during quarantine can’t be fixed. It is a sacrifice that was needed in order to play soccer.”

Seeing athletes separated from their Greek organizations is unfortunate but Greek leaders have included athletes (or other off-campus students) in online events. The Interfraternity Council (IFC) President Alex Pratt offered some insight into including these groups of students.

“All of the recruitment events took place online, and any IFC events can be attended by athletes,” Pratt said. “It is difficult to incentivize going to online activities that quarantined athletes could attend because everyone is so tired of Zoom.”

Ultimately, athletes in fraternities have to accept the weird reality of spring semester Greek life. While it has been challenging, Kraft was able to draw a positive note from the decreasing number of cases.

“I am excited to get back to the relationships I created. I have missed going to activities with the boys,” Kraft said.

Sorority members have had a different. Because sororities do not have off-campus housing and Panhellenic is not hosting in-person events, athletes belonging to a sorority are not feeling as isolated as men’s sports teams.

Sophomore Kayla Gustafson from the women’s soccer team is the Philanthropy Chair of Kappa Kappa Gamma and noted that her main challenges come down to time devoted to each activity.

“[It’s] mostly hard when traveling for the sport, but otherwise, it’s somewhat easy to balance time between both,” Gustafson said.

Gustafson does not believe her relationship with Kappa has been negatively affected by the strict regulations put on athletes.

“Sometimes it made my relationship better because some of the girls on the team were also in the same sorority, so it was fun to be a part of both things with them,” Gustafson said.

COVID-19 has added challenges and obstacles to nearly every aspect of student life this spring semester. While incredibly fortunate to have a competitive season, these athletes are looking forward to when it is safe to reunite with their fraternity brothers and sorority sisters.