Coaches, athletes face scheduling problems

UNA’s Pride of Dixie band plays during the homecoming game last fall. Due to scheduling problems, homecoming games will be different every year.

UNA sports officials, coaches, and players are speaking out about an issue important to the success of athletics of the university: the issue of scheduling games. Difficulty scheduling games is a recurring theme throughout the Department of Athletics, said coach officials.

“Scheduling is an issue for our university,” said Terry Fowler, head coach of women’s basketball. “In the six years I have been at UNA, scheduling has been a big issue.”

Scheduling this next year for women’s basketball has been easier due to a two-year scheduling contract that has filled game slots, Fowler said. Usually, though, Fowler said scheduling games can be difficult because of the lack of options in UNA’s conference.

Mark Linder, director of athletics, said the Gulf South Conference may be the reason why it is hard to schedule athletic events.

“I think it comes down to right now (having) so few conference members,” Linder said.

Linder said a move to Division I athletics would open up options of teams that are in UNA’s range of travel.

Fowler said an invitation to a D-I conference would change the scheduling playing field. It still all depends on the conference entered, though.

Fowler said many games he must schedule now involve having to travel large distances, which can cause some students to get behind in academics or feel fatigued. But going on the road is just a part of college athletics, Fowler said.

“If we want to make it happen, we can make it happen,” he said.

Stephanie Radecki, UNA head volleyball coach, has also had trouble scheduling games. She said if she could change one thing about the scheduling issue at UNA, she would want to be in a position where she could schedule more home games for her team.

“I think a lot of schools and programs struggle with wanting to play schools out of their region,” she said. “Last fall, we missed more classes because of travel than in a long time. Obviously, travel causes our budget to be pulled a little tighter and our student athletes to miss more class.”

Head baseball coach Mike Keehn also said scheduling games is a challenge. He said the travel his team must undergo helps prepare the young men for playoff travel, but it can have some negative effects.

“The biggest trouble we have is being able to find enough Division II games,” Keehn said. “I think it takes its toll when we have to take those long trips. Too much of anything can wear you down.”

Soccer player and freshman Chelsea Rial said she would like to see a few changes in her game schedule.

“I think the universities that we would like to play but don’t get to are Lynn University and Florida Southern,” she said.

Rial said this is because of the four games her team lost last year. Lynn University and Florida Southern were two of their losses.

Rial said she and her team would love the opportunity to redeem themselves by beating such teams, but they don’t get chance because they are not on the upcoming schedule.