Being Greek – on the court and on the field

Samantha Donegan

KSU athletes discuss challenges of being part of both worlds

With practice, games and schoolwork, being a college athlete can be time-consuming. Adding membership to a Greek organization can suck away even more time. However, Kent State men’s basketball player Jordan Mincy and football player Coleman Lynn find time to squeeze in both athletics and Greek life.

Mincy, senior point guard for the basketball team and member of Kappa Alpha Psi, said to be an athlete and Greek at the same time requires being good at time management and keeping priorities straight.

“During basketball season, I mainly focus more on basketball, but in the off-season I get more involved with my frat,” Mincy said. “School always comes first.”

Mincy’s main influence to join Kappa Alpha Psi was his older brother, who belongs to the same organization at the University of Alabama. However, the connections that he makes off the court are what he truly wanted to gain from becoming Greek.

“People who are in your fraternity often are already established in the working world, so if you need a job, you can always talk to them,” Mincy said. “I’ve been offered numerous jobs by people who have already been established, been in my fraternity and are in the business world.”

Some of the disadvantages Mincy mentioned to being a Greek athlete were not having much time for other extracurricular activities, not being able to talk to his parents as much as he would like and not having any time for a girlfriend.

“A lot of women don’t understand why I spend so much time with my fraternity,” he said. “They understand basketball because that is my scholarship, but with my fraternity, they don’t understand why I spend so much time.”

Because most athletes are on scholarship, their athletics and schoolwork become first priorities and extracurricular activities like Greek life tend to play second fiddle.

“When I first joined my organization, it wasn’t the fact of how much time I was going to be able to spend,” said Lynn, junior wide receiver and member of Phi Beta Sigma. “It was the fact of the matter of how I was going to be able to contribute with the time that I had.

“My fraternity brothers, they understand that I am an athlete. They don’t expect me to be at every meeting.”

Mincy said at first his coaches did not really understand why he wanted to be in a fraternity.

“They thought I just wanted to be friends and asked do I need a group of friends,” he said. “After I told them the networking possibilities and the business aspect to a fraternity, they had a better understanding of why I joined a fraternity.”

Phi Beta Sigma member Armon Gates graduated from Kent State in 2007 and is now an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team. He said you won’t find many athletes who go Greek because most athletes are too focused on sports.

“Most athletes, they strive to make it to the next level,” Gates said. “People think basketball, basketball, basketball or football, football, football, and at some point, that is going to end for you, and you have to find a way to do something else.

“I had realistic goals of coming to Kent State. Of course I had dreams of playing in the NBA, but sometimes your goals, you got to make them realistic.”

Lynn said time is a large factor as to why many athletes won’t go Greek. Nonetheless, because so much time is spent with their teams, athletes may feel they are already part of some type of organization with the bond between their teammates.

Mincy said his fraternity supports him and is at every one of his games.

“Last year, they had their picture on ESPN in the background,” he said. “They are always there with me. MAC Tournament, they were there in Cleveland and everything.”

Mincy said he thinks people are always welcome to join Greek organizations; however, it’s not so much the fraternities opening their arms. It’s the athletes need to be willing to join the organization, open their horizon and do something different.

Coleman said the Greek life is almost similar to the athletic life. Members have to manage their time and make sure that their grades are still up to par. Being able to achieve fraternity goals is just like trying to achieve athletic goals.

Contact Greek life reporter Samantha Donegan at [email protected].