Student-athletes have housing advantages

Dixie State University students have moved into the new Campus View Suites II student housing. Students, DSU staff and faculty, and community members gathered for the dedication ceremony the morning of Aug. 26. Photo by Kristi Shields.

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College is a unique experience for students because it often grants new freedoms to individuals turning 18 their freshman year. One of these newly experienced freedoms is housing.

Do first year students get any type of aide or assistance in finding housing? Specifically do Dixie State University athletes get extra assistance from their coaches to find housing on campus? To answer this question simply… it’s confusing.

Eighty percent of collegiate athletes get some form of a scholarship or academic grant. This money is then given to the athletes, and they can decide how to use it such as on groceries, tuition, housing, and however else the athlete would like to spend this money is up to them. A common practice is to use this money to pay for the cost of housing while in school.

“The housing scholarship money is provided to the student-athlete to use towards their housing,” said Mike Olson, associate athletic director and academics and student-athlete welfare at DSU. “While the funding for their housing is guaranteed, the location of their housing is based on on-campus [availability] and off-campus availability.” 

So, there really isn’t any advantage for student athletes in this aspect. One way the Trailblazer volleyball team uses housing to their advantage is to reach out to the high school seniors soon to be attending DSU, so they can all room in the same building.

“One of the current players [at DSU] texted me and asked if I needed a place to live next year,” said Lizzy Clark, a senior exercise science major from Sandy. “I hadn’t even started looking at that point, and she then gave me her [housing] managers information then, and everything worked out from there.”

Clark’s experience isn’t what all athletes encounter as Lauren Mena, a freshman elementary education major from Fountain Valley, California, had a completely different experience.

“While I came down for my unofficial visit, we set up a tour with an apartment complex and they were able to give me a tour while I was in town,” Mena said. “We could live wherever we wanted, and the coaches said it’s totally up to us.”

If collegiate coaches were able to assist in the housing situation college students face, this would give athletes a tremendous advantage with finding housing. Athletes are not given the ability to be moved to the front of the waiting list, get priority housing, or any other advantages than other students have.

This being said, athletes who do receive scholarship money do have an advantage over other students who do not receive a form of financial aid as they not only have to worry about where to live while attending college but also how they are going to afford it.