With second semester underway, athletics at the University of Indianapolis are right back into the swing of things. However, the number of teams that will be suiting up during this time of the year will be more than in previous seasons for the Greyhounds.
According to Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Young, there are big plans in place for the university. The logistics and budgetary complications still need to be worked out before any facility upgrades or additions to campus. Despite that, he said he sees the Greyhounds being the top private institution in all Division II athletics in the not-so-distant future.
Young said that right now they are getting close to finishing the budget process for the university, the process to talk about capital projects, which facility upgrades would fall under. While COVID-19 has put a halt on a lot of those things, he is motivated to get things underway.
“It [COVID-19] has completely changed lives for all of us. It has changed UIndy Athletics. It has changed the University of Indianapolis,” Young said. “I’m really looking forward to being able to actually put things in place that I want to see here for the five-year goal for our department”.
According to Associate A.D. & Senior Woman Administrator for Student Support Jackie Paquette, the Greyhounds should see a recovery from the pandemic in three-to-five years.
“I think you’re going to see us return back to having teams in the Top 25,” Paquette said. “I think you’re going to see hopefully some upgrades to our facilities.”
According to UIndy Athletics, there are 23 varsity sports, with the most recent additions being men’s and women’s lacrosse, which were added in 2016. Young said that he is not ruling out the addition of more sports to the line-up.
He said he wants to put an emphasis on creating additional sports for women. But his overall goal is to find sports that will help enhance UIndy.There is nothing set in stone at the moment, however. Both Young and Paquette said they have high hopes for the current and future Greyhounds, even with the new challenges that COVID-19 has brought.
“We’ve got all sorts of people trying to use Nicoson and Ruth Lily because volleyball is going right now too when they usually aren’t,” Paquette said. “So it’s sort of a puzzle, and it’s sort of a circus really, but that’s something we’ve had to look at is juggling that puzzle a little bit more. Also making sure the coaches are working together in order to keep all of those spaces open and keep all of those student-athletes competing.”
Young said he also has noticed the differences that this year has brought the Greyhounds. He said that the university has been focusing on the day-to-day operations which is providing the student-athletes with the opportunity to compete is the number one priority.
Both Young and Paquette said they always have the well-being of their student-athletes at the forefront of every decision they make. Young said once it gets closer to the summertime, they will try to take a step back and evaluate the plans for the upcoming years.
“I feel fortunate that we all still get to do what we have a passion for. It’s so important to me that our student-athletes still get an opportunity to practice and compete,” Young said. “I think this year, every time that we have an opportunity to compete as the University of Indianapolis, it truly is a blessing and we should take advantage of that.”
Paquette said it means a lot to her for the student-athletes to suit up and represent the Greyhounds again. Especially with teams such as soccer, lacrosse, volleyball and wrestling getting underway in the past couple of weeks.
“When our wrestling team took the mat for the first time on Jan. 10, I almost started crying because that was such a sense of normalcy for me to see our wrestlers take the mat. And that’s something that hasn’t happened in over 300 days,” Paquette said. “It’s getting those things back that people are going to realize that maybe we should’ve been a little bit more grateful in the past for what we have. Even down to simple things like not having to wear a mask everywhere we go. Honestly, I think that’s good for our world.”