GCC's Three-Year Athletes
By Ramone Archie
"Oh no. Here comes my third year in what is supposed to be a two year college. All of the plans that I made were started with completing school here in two years. What am I going to do?"
These might be the words of some students at GCC, but the words of a student athlete might be a little bit different.
"OK, so I redshirted my first year to get more experience. I started my second year. I had a few scouts looking at me. This year I have a chance to be a standout. If I do that I can get a scholarship and get a free university education and also do what I like most-play football."
And that's how and why some athletes stretch two years of Glendale College into three. The key to it is redshirting the first year. Redshirting simply means that you practice with the team and learn all of the fundamentals for one year, but you don't use up any of your eligibility.
According to Jim Sartoris, the men's athletic director,one of the main reasons why many student athletes redshirt is that they need more time to develop their athletic skills. They use the redshirting year to get better.
Sartoris brought a whole new idea to me: greyshirting. Athletes can greyshirt if they get hurt before the season. If the injury doesn't heal in time to play in a majority of the games they can take that year off. "One of the smartest things for someone to do is to greyshirt," Sartoris said. Another way to greyshirt is to not become a full time student in your first year at school--maybe because you have to take some remedial courses. And by doing this you still don't lose that eligibility.
Eligibility is precious. You only get four years to actually play. After a year of redshirting, you still have your full eligibility intact. And you're preparing yourself to be a better player, which might get you a university scholarship. Not all student athletes have that goal in mind, but by attending a two-year school like GCC first improves their chances.
Robert Yount came out of high school never having played organized football before in his life. He didn't expect to be on the first team in his first year. He planned to redshirt. "I didn't know much about football when I came here to Glendale but after being here two years the coaches have taught me a lot and I think that I can start this year," he said.
Eddy Michaels, a quarterback, came out of high school having already played football before and with one goal in mind. "I want to get an athletic scholarship when I get out of here," he said. "I really want a Division One scholarship, but if that doesn't come I'll take a Division Two."
The difference between Division 1 and Division 2 is simply the size of the school. UCLA, USC and Ohio State are Division 1. Division 2 schools are places like Central State and Somona State.
Glen Vigil is a classic three-year athlete. He played fullback in high school. Unfortunately, that's a position that isn't utilized as much in the GCC offense as at some other schools. But he was persistent and worked hard. Now starting his third year, he knows the program well and is in top shape to play. He will be a force in the redzone this season for the Vaqs.
Carl Evans redshirted last year. Now he's ready to be on the first team. Part of it was being in the right place at the right time. He is the only returning running back, so he has a good chance to start this year.
"I redshirted last year because I didn't quite have the technique down, but this year I have it down and I am ready to start," Evans said. If he does well this year he might still go on to his third year before he goes off to the armed forces.
So spending three years at Glendale College isn't an academic setback for some student athletes-it's part of their game plan.
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