In an effort to further improve conditions for student-athletes, Interim Athletic Director Stanford Nance and the Emerson College Athletic Department made several key changes this summer as the Lions transition from the Great Northeast Athletic Conference to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference.
“The institutions of the NEWMAC have been doing this for a long time,” Nance said. “They are good academically and they’re good athletically. Emerson is good academically; we are working on being good athletically.”
The changes, all made in an effort to capture Nance’s desired theme of “14 varsity sports, 1 team,” are a direct result of funding from the Athletics Working Group, which Emerson President M. Lee Pelton formed to ready Emerson for the rigors of NEWMAC competition, according to Nance.
The additions include new goals for the soccer and lacrosse teams and improved ice machines at Rotch Field and the Bobbi Brown & Steven Plofker Gym. Also new are fleet buses to ensure safe travel for teams. Players or coaches often used to be tasked with driving the team vans to games and practices, something Nance personally took care of before working group funding came through.
In addition to the buses, Nance mentioned up the school’s purchase of sweat suits and travel bags, something he hopes will help players look more like a team when on the road.
“We didn’t have those things. When our teams traveled, sometimes we had kids wearing jeans or you wear whatever — we looked like rag-tag,” Nance said. “They’ve got a uniform, they’ve got a travel sweat suit, they’ve got a bag and we feed them. [It’s] very important to us to have all 14 varsity teams like that.”
Nance emphasized the importance of student’s being able to eat before games as opposed to waiting until afterward and playing on an empty stomach.
“[We’re making] sure our students [are] getting meals when they get out of class to go compete for a game,” Nance said. “Not get out of class, hop on the bus, go to the game, compete [in] the game and then get something to eat. That’s not right. If you don’t have energy, you’re not going to be able to do your best in the game, so we cleared that.”
“We’re all on the same team,” Nance said. “We root for one another. If one is hurting, we’re all hurting. When we win, we all win; when we lose, we all lose.”