Walking on gives students chance to join DSU athletics

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Athletic men and women see if they have what it takes to compete in college sports by deciding to try out for DSU teams; however, there are a couple of hurdles these students need to clear before walking onto the teams. 

The first step for you as an aspiring collegiate athlete is to make sure you are NCAA eligible. There is no use in trying out if you are not able to join the team you will try out for.

Basic academic requirements for NCAA participation include graduating from high school, taking the 16 core credits that are listed on NCAA.org, and having a 2.0 or higher GPA. It sounds easy enough, but it’s all about the paper work.

Players also need to sign waivers, have proof of insurance, and get cleared by the NCAA to play.

“I had to fill out a couple waivers and get proof of a physical in order to be able to just tryout,” said Nick Andersen, a sophomore math major from St. George, who is trying out for the men’s basketball team.

Once you are eligible, find out when tryouts are and get ready. Tryout dates for Dixie State teams vary from sport to sport, but you should talk to the coach about when it is, which is how Andersen got his chance to tryout.

“Tryouts are either by special invitation or by player request, which is how it was for me,” Andersen said. “I had to ask the coach when and where tryouts were being held.”

But when it’s time for tryouts, you best be ready.

“Tryouts are just two hours long,” Andersen said. “I’m not sure exactly how many will be trying out, but I think they just tell you right after tryouts if you make it. But when I spoke briefly with coach Judkins, he said that there was a lot of interest being shown in this year’s tryout.”

But not all sports have the same tryout requirements.

Cross-country and football, for example, do not hold any open tryouts, but like most sports, it’s all up to the coach.

“They would just need to communicate with … the head coach,” said cross-country runner Josh Decker, a sophomore Spanish major from St. George. “But we would want people who run consistently and have racing experience — just like any sport.”

Without tryouts for the football team, it is necessary to talk to the right coaches.

“I would get with the coach from your position and see what he says,” said Taylor Fox, a freshman business major from St. George and former football player.

The DSU football team lists almost 100 players on its roster. Nearly 25 players are red-shirt athletes who are practice-only players, waiting for their time to shine in the upcoming future. However, walking on usually means you will not get a scholarship for your first year on the team.

“The toughest part (of walking on) is financially you have to pay for everything on your own,” said Nolan Tanner, a sophomore criminal justice major from Mesquite, Nev. “There is little time for a job, so day to day you are broke.”

Megan Hatt, a sophomore general education major from Green River and a member of the women’s basketball team, also echoes that of what others said about talking to the coach of the sport you want to participate on.

“Since it was coach’s first year, last year she was willing to give a lot of walk-ons a shot,” Hatt said. “Those that went up and talk to her, got their shot on the team.”

Once you make the team, get ready to play.

“Others might look at walk ons as lesser players,” Hatt said. “But coaches and players value their presence.”