De Anza athletes, community members push for return of on-campus athletics3 min read

De Anza has not allowed athletes on campus since March, and they are now fighting to come back.

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De Anza has not allowed athletes on campus since March, and they are now fighting to come back.

Ryan McCarthy, Staff Reporter

De Anza athletes and coaches are hoping for an opportunity to return to campus to prepare for the possibility of a return of team sports this school year.


Student-athletes and coaches from De Anza College and Foothill College submitted their support for bringing team sports back to campuses at the Foothill-De Anza board meeting on Oct. 5, ensuring the members of the board that they are committed to satisfying necessary health guidelines while participating in normal practice and game routines.


More than 20 athletes and coaches spoke at the meeting, pleading their case with the board members to let them back onto campus for team conditioning and practices.


Students, parents and other members of the community submitted written comments to the board to amplify the case.


Louise Madrigal, physical education division counselor, advocated for bringing the athletes back to campus to train, something she said was crucial to student athletes that rely on athletic scholarships to attend school. 


She also said it would allow athletes to have a chance at earning athletic scholarships for a four-year university.


“Whether it is a partial or full athletic scholarship, the funding our students receive for athletic participation is vital in making the dream of competing at a four-year institution a reality,” Madrigal said.


Jeff Baicher, a former Major League Soccer player who graduated from Foothill College in 1988, urged the board to reopen athletic facilities for the children playing under the De Anza Force soccer club, a 1,500 player program in Cupertino that he directs and coaches. 


His players have been stuck training on their own, which Baicher wrote is failing players and their development, both as athletes and as children.


“The safety measures combined with the lack of facilities has put many players at risk of quitting soccer,” said Baicher. “Exercise and social interaction is the only thing that is saving our children from depression and far much worse.”


Luke Sayre, 19, a business administration major, player for De Anza’s men’s basketball team and member of the Student Athletic Committee, said that much of the student-athlete population at the school is ready to come back, even with the increased safety measures.


“Everyone is pretty set,” said Sayre. “Let’s do whatever we can do to be safe, but also get out on the field and make sure that if we do have a season that we are ready for it.”


Before seasons even begin, student athletes said their teams need a substantial time period to condition and get players back into playing shape.


 Yahya Kalkan, 20, computer science major, and player for De Anza’s basketball program, thinks that his team would need at least a few months to prepare before starting the season, but said that he has prepared to play as soon as teams get back.


“I’m in shape, I’ve been working out,” said Kalkan. “I don’t know about my teammates, so I think two months would be enough for us to get back in shape.”


Madrigal said bringing athletes back to campus would not only benefit them physically, but mentally as well.


“I strongly believe that we will see an overall improvement of their mental, physical, and emotional well-being,” said Madrigal. “The De Anza Athletics department fully supports our student-led request to return for training.”

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