A luxury of being a varsity athlete at a school like Ohio State is having the opportunity to travel across the country. Buckeye athletics either bring the best into Columbus or go to the best teams in the land, no matter where they are located.
Baseball, though, might have the most rigorous traveling schedule of them all.
Even though snow still coats the Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium, the collegiate baseball season starts this weekend. Escaping the frigid temperatures in the winter wonderland that is Columbus, the Buckeyes are set to begin the first month of their season playing far from home.
The first two weekends of the season are scheduled to be spent in Port Charlotte, Fla., and Orlando, Fla., respectively, with the third in Greenville, N.C., and fourth in Eugene, Ore., and Corvallis, Ore.
As the players warmed up for batting practice Wednesday, they could not help but be giddy at the opportunity to get into some Florida sunshine after only being able to have one outdoor practice so far this year. Although it will be a bonus for them to enjoy some nice weather, they realize ] there is more to be accounted for while traveling.
These are not just one-and-done games. They play either three or four games each trip and these games are sandwiched right in the middle of Spring Semester. The players don’t appear to mind at all, always balancing their responsibilities as players and students.
“I get a lot of classwork done on the road, on buses or even on the plane if I have to,” sophomore infielder Troy Kuhn said.
Having these long trips allows the athletes plenty of time to get their schoolwork done on the way to and from their game locations. It is because of reasons just like this that, last year, OSU decided to supply all student-athletes with an iPad.
“The use of iPads will allow us to find creative and innovative ways to enhance our tutoring and mentoring services,” assistant provost for student-athlete success David Graham said in a press release about the decision.
The OSU Department of Athletics budgeted $400,000 to purchase iPads for the athletes in 2012.
Despite having plenty of hours to dedicate themselves to studying and homework, the team still misses some valuable class time.
“The pros of us traveling are that we get to chase the weather, but we also have to miss a couple Friday classes,” coach Greg Beals said. “Our guys know this and get it sorted out with their professors first.”
For each road trip, the traveling squad has to miss most Friday and possibly some Thursday classes. The players make sure to notify their teachers beforehand and make up for everything they miss.
“We get an excuse note and hope our teachers are pretty lenient, and they usually are and understand,” sophomore infielder Jacob Bosiokovic said. “It (travel) makes things tough, but we get some tutors and study to take care of everything.”
Since athletes are some of the first to schedule classes, some of the players even find ways to not have to miss classes.
“I actually set up my schedule this semester so I don’t have classes on Mondays or Fridays,” Kuhn said. “So when we leave on Thursday, I don’t have any class conflict. I don’t miss any classes, actually.”
The Buckeyes are scheduled to begin play against Connecticut in the Snowbird Classic Friday at 5 p.m.