Post #5

IN THIS POST…

  • The Residential College Experience at Yale
  • Implications of NCAA’s Extra Year

The Residential College Experience at Yale

At the heart of the ‘Yale Experience’ is the residential college housing system. Dating back more than 75 years, the first seven of Yale’s fourteen residential colleges were built. Yes, we did say colleges. But don’t think school when you hear the term ‘colleges’, think dormitory housing where all Yale undergrads live. Each residential college has anywhere from four to five hundred undergrads living in them and look like small castles than your average college dorm. Grassy courtyards, sculptured stone archways, and outdoor seating to lounge and study are just some of the features most residential colleges have. Finished in 2017, the last two residential colleges allowed Yale to increase its undergrad enrollment from 5,700 to 6,200. With the exception of taking classes, your residential college is your home away from home.

Benjamin Franklin College – 2017
Movie Room in Benjamin Franklin College

Freshman are assigned at random to one of fourteen residential colleges and most freshman will live on ‘Old Campus’ before moving into their official residential college. Freshman do not get the chance to select their roommates, thus there is no preferential athletic housing. This gives our players a chance to forge relationships with non-athletes outside the team and within their small residential housing community. Once in your official college residence, students share a ‘suite style’ space with four to six other students. You and your suitemates share a common living area, bathroom facilities, and everyone has their own bedroom. In addition to your living spaces, all residential colleges have their own dining hall, gym, library, study spaces, computer lounge, activity spaces, laundry facilities and much, much more. So, yes that means there are FOURTEEN DINING HALLS on campus and students may eat at any one they want.

Berkeley College Dining Hall

In addition to where you sleep, eat, and study, your residential college is where you really become part of a communiy and connected to Yale. Each residential college has a Head of College (HOC) and a Dean who’s family’s live in and are a part of the residential college community. The HOC is the chief administrative officer, a member of the Yale faculty, and responsible for the physical and mental well-being of the colleges’s students as well as fostering the social, cultural, and academic character. Deans serve as the cheif academic and personal advisor to each student where he or she can help consult on course selection, academic track, as well as connecting each student to areas of acdemic support.

The coveted Tyng Cup gets the competitive athletic residential college juices flowing. Intramurral sports are a big deal at Yale, as are varisty NCAA sports. Since 1933, the Tyng Cup as its called, is awarded to the most athletic college. Colleges compete in sports such as soccer, baskettball, cross-country, tabletennis, pickleball, and many others. Schedules are made, teams selected, and standings are kept. Needless to say, the colleges take ‘The Tyng’ very seriously. Click HERE for more info about each of Yale’s residential colleges.

Implications of NCAA’s Extra Year…

The NCAA’s decision to give hockey players an extra year of eligibility has created quite the conundrum for coaches as they try manage their rosters over the next four years. Most programs expected the extra year given the NCAA did the same for last year’s Spring and this years Fall athletes. One thing we can assume is the sport is going to get a little bit messy. We dive-in below and break down what this decision really means, who it’s going to impact, the potential implications, and the impact our program at Yale.

What Did The NCAA Do? They gave every Freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior who is playing this season an additional year of eligibility. For players who plan to graduate this Spring, they could return to their current institution for a 5th year, except for the Ivy’s and one or two other schools–we’ll get into why later. Or, they could enter the transfer portal and go elsewhere as a ‘graduate transfer’ student. What the NCAA did not do was change the number of scholarships allowed. That number will stay at 18 full scholarships. Thus creating a financial issue for coaches who want to bring back seniors but already gave scholarship money out.

Who Does This Impact? For starters, coaching staffs are now put in the awkward position of deciding whether or not they want to return any of their seniors. They’ll also have to decide how big of a roster they want. Add some returning seniors with your incoming freshman class and you have a whole extra line and pair of D or more. Thats a lot of extra bodies in the stands to manage. Seniors are now faced with deciding if they want to come back, or transfer elsewhere. Returning players have to grapple with perhaps waiting a bit longer to get that extra ice-time they were counting on once the seniors moved on. Incoming freshmen could be seriously impacted as well. In order to keep roster numbers manageable they could be asked to take a gap year. This type of situation leaves coaches like yourselves impacted. How many players were you expecting to move on to college and now looking for a place to play next year? It’s a trickle-down effect, one senior comes back and it can change a lot. Three or four come back, and you see how it can have a big impact.

What are the implications? The NCAA’s decision really created a four year roster-management and financial juggling act. DI programs will have to manage appropriate roster sizes by deciding how many seniors and incoming freshman they may or may not want to show up in the Fall. Financially, coaches will need to figure out how much scholarship $ (if any) they can afford to give a returning senior. That may mean possibly a change in scholarship $ amounts of incoming freshmen or returner to make it work. Incoming freshman could get asked to take a post grad/gap year and delay their enrollment. Not the ideal situation for a freshman who was planning to come to campus and start their collegiate hockey careers. Some of these kids have been committed to their respective programs for years. Overall, it puts a real strain on the coaches and the relationships with their players. And this isn’t something that is a one year thing… this will need to be dealt with each year for the next four years.

What does this decision mean for the Ivy’s & others? The NCAA’s decision doesn’t really impact the Ivy’s in terms of players getting an extra year. What did impact the Ivy’s is a rule which states all athletes are required to complete their undergraduate degree in 8 semesters, or 4 years. Graduate student-athletes are not allowed by Ivy League rules, so if an Ivy athlete is on-track to graduate in the Spring ’21, is enrolled and taking classes, they wouldn’t be allowed to return to their current institution and finish their playing eligibility. Now that the Ivy League has cancelled winter sports, all Ivy graduating seniors could transfer to another school. There are however, very few Ivy women’s hockey seniors in that situation. Most Ivy players chose to take the year off. Cornell did not. Their entire team is back on campus, enrolled and taking classes. You can bet those graduating seniors will want to find a home. Any school that doesn’t have a graduate program for its seniors to come back to or decided not to compete this year is in a similar situation. Colgate comes to mind as it doesn’t have a graduate school for its athletes and Post University and RIT are other DI schools not having seasons.

Most of our players at Yale decided to take a year-long ‘leave of absence’ (LOA) which means not being enrolled or taking classes; it’s like a pause for the entire academic year. Players on an LOA still maintain their athletic eligibility. We did have 4 freshmen who chose to defer their enrollment until 2021. Freshmen were allowed to live on campus in the Fall but aren’t allowed to do so in the Spring. They feeling amongst a lot of athletes was they wanted the full ‘Yale experience’. They wanted to live on campus, go to class in-person with world-class professors, play as normal a hockey season as possible, and be with their teammates/friends.

Needless to say it’s going to be a very interesting year.

Until next time everyone, enjoy your weekend.

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