Changes in high school athletics

by Brady Hess–

Blacksburg, Va., Dec. 3—Have a Ball: Football, basketball and baseball are a few of the many sports that student-athletes across the country have an opportunity to participate in during their high school glory days. Photo: Brady Hess

Southwest Virginia is just one of the many places this time of year where student-athletes are beginning to make the shift from football to basketball. The shift is not an uncommon one to make and is one that athletes embrace with pride. The shift has its challenges but overall the multisport athletes will tell you it is worth it.

“Some advantages are playing with my good friends. The quick turn is nice because I’m already in shape,” said Blacksburg High School junior Drew Babcock. “The transition can also be a little difficult.”

The transition from a physical game like football to the finesse game of basketball is a difficult one. The conditioning for both sports is different, presenting a challenge that Blacksburg junior Cole Epperley said is the most difficult in the transition.

“Basketball is muscle memory and football does a lot of wearing and tearing on the body,” said Richlands basketball assistant Patrick Wade. “Most times when we get players they have some nagging injuries and are a bit overweight because they have been lifting weights and aren’t as mobile.”

Based on the success of your football program, basketball season can become delayed. This can set you back on the hardwood in regards to team chemistry and planning for a big district game. However, while to some, it appears that there are many drawbacks to participating in a handful of sports, the good can outweigh the bad.

In recent years, the debate over which is more beneficial, being a one-sport athlete or a multisport athlete has became popular. In a March 2017 USA Today article, the NCAA collected information from 21,233 student-athletes on this topic. The results show that 71 percent of Division I football players were multisport athletes.

In 2015, pictures hit the web in regards to Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer is more likely to recruit athletes who played numerous sports than to seek after a one-sport athlete.

Athletes can be met with disapproval by coaches who frown upon athletes who seek to be apart of multiple teams.

“Not all coaches are this way but there are some out there that do not want athletes to play other sports and to only focus on theirs,” said Christiansburg Director of Parks and Recreation, Brad Epperley. “This, unfortunately, is a total disrespect to the student-athlete.”

Recently, the Virginia High School League changed the way high school sports are handled. Instead of having “seasonal” practice where there were a couple weeks off between each sport, coaches, players and administrators are now met with the option for “year-round practice.” The elder Epperley disapproves of this, saying that this can limit the number of sports that athletes can commit themselves to.

With implementations of year-round practice and play, the landscape of high school athletics has changed completely. With this change, expect there to be a lot of conversation on whether or not playing numerous sports is a good or bad in the near future.

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Career options for student athletes


Blacksburg, Va,. Oct. 16–Students gather in the presidential suite in Lane Stadium for Career Jumpstart. Athletes had the opportunity to meet with workers from across the New River Valley to learn about life in the “real world.” Photo: Brady Hess

by Brady Hess–

Scott Morgan writes that in every sport other than baseball, less than two percent of collegiate athletes turn pro. At Virginia Tech, the Office of Student-Athlete Development within the Athletic Department has started Career Jumpstart to show student-athletes their options after their playing days are over.

According to, the “Career Jumpstart provides opportunities for Hokie student-athletes to enhance career development skills, while interacting with alumni and professionals to make connections, learning about specific career fields, and enhancing their networking skills.”

Whether it is getting a feel for what the path is to become a medical professional or learning to change four tires on a racecar, a wide variety of work was on display in Lane Stadium.

Billy Hardee, a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine at the Community Health Center of the New River Valley, said it was encouraging to see young athletes seeking out their options in the workforce.
The admiration also came from the student-athletes for their new colleagues.

“Tonight was really awesome,” said Mandy Powers, a senior on the Virginia Tech volleyball team. “We just had a great time meeting so many people from so many different companies.”

Like Hardee, other employers sang high praises of Virginia Tech for hosting an event of this nature for its athletes, but they also sang high praises for the student-athletes inquiring about their futures.

Kim Adams, the director of SOX and accounting policy at Union Bank & Trust, is also an alumnus of Virginia Tech. Adams said that she has always tried to give back to the school in which she attended and that Career Jumpstart provided another way for her to do just that.

“I never had the opportunity to do something like this when I was a student-athlete here,” said Dr. Billy Hardee, a former Virginia Tech student-athlete. “It’s great that this is very much a part of Virginia Tech and their athletic department.”

Hardee discusses his experiences with the event in the audio slideshow below.