Size Matters

By Jon Harris

Limited court space sidelines students

The loud echo of balls bouncing, the squeaking of sneakers on the hardwood floor, and a chorus of cries calling “foul!” To most people, these are the sounds of basketball. For some in Archbold and Flanagan gymnasiums, it’s the sound of exclusion.

“I probably have waited around two hours,” said Jeffrey Foley, a freshman in the College of Human Ecology, “especially when there is intramural or club games going on, which take up all the Flanagan courts, leaving only one court in Archbold for sometimes 60 or 70 kids.”

Adriel Aponte, a junior sports management major, said he doesn’t understand how Syracuse University can expect the two gyms to meet the needs of students on campus. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. the courts are packed, which “makes people’s [work out] schedules more difficult,” Aponte said.

Built in 1908, Archbold Gymnasium stayed unscathed until a fire destroyed it in 1947. By 1949, the gym was rebuilt and a new wing was added in 1952. Since then, the gymnasium underwent one renovation in 1989, when the locker rooms and stairways were revamped in order to physically connect the two gyms. Flanagan contains three basketball courts, while Archbold has only one.

One of the three courts in Flanagan is used for volleyball, as a net splits the far-end court in half at all times. John Sampson, a junior finance major, has experienced the lack of playing space firsthand.

“One time, a volleyball tournament took up all three basketball courts inside Flanagan,” Sampson recalled. He then tried to play on Archbold’s basketball court. “It was impossible; [I] couldn’t get on,” he said.

Playing space on Flanagan’s basketball courts is even more limited during the spring semester. Intramural basketball teams have Flanagan reserved Sunday through Wednesday night from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., said Iva Isuka, an intramural basketball member and graduate student in the Maxwell School.

During this time, Archbold’s one basketball court is left open to students, in addition to the volleyball court in Flanagan. It’s common to see students playing volleyball in the middle of the court with other students playing five-on-five basketball on either side. For students who try to play basketball on this court during intramurals, sometimes it’s harder to dodge a volleyball than a screen.

Getting court time is no picnic for volleyball players, either. The amount of space they have to play is just illogical. It’s like someone told them, “Here’s a cardboard box, now get in there and act like Misty May-Treanor!”

For those who want to pump some iron or run, the situation is almost as annoying. Archbold’s fitness area is separated by a blue tarp, and offers free weights, treadmills, and other exercise equipment. The only thing harder than your workout might be finding equipment to work out with. On Wednesday, March 31 at precisely 9 p.m., there was only one treadmill and three elliptical machines open.

But if students want more machines and free weights, they can walk over to Ernie Davis Hall, which houses a new fitness center but lacks any additional basketball courts. Aponte thinks Ernie Davis’ fitness center is “a good supplement,” but can only serve a limited number of students.

Both Archbold and Flanagan close at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, 11:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, and 1 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Sunday night through Tuesday night only give non-intramural basketball players an hour and a half, at the most, to play after intramurals stop for the night.

Rachel Gilwit, a gym employee and junior nutrition major, understands the students’ complaints. “It’s a very old gym and it’s poorly designed,” Gilwit said, “[The builders] didn’t anticipate this many people.”

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