Student-athletes weigh in on ’Nova resident life on campus



Rachel Bleier

For most students, choosing whom to room with is a very important decision. We try to choose people with whom we are friends and with whom we genuinely enjoy spending time. While students at the University are diverse in their interests, they tend to choose to live with people who share their interests. Among the factors that students take into consideration when choosing a roommate are extra-curricular activities, class schedules, and majors among a myriad of other interests. Students can choose anyone in their class year who fits their criteria for a desirable roommate. 

But how would you decide whom to live with if your choices were limited and you knew you would be spending the majority of your time outside of your room with your roommates? What if you not only had to live with your friends, but also practice with them, go to class with them and travel with them? 

This is the reality many of the University’s student-athletes face. Student-athletes spend a great deal of time with their roommates outside of their living quarters; its hard not to when athletes share similar schedules in terms of practice, games, travel and even class. 

The question of whether athletes should live together does not have a definitive answer. Coaches at Villanova overwhelmingly support their athletes living together as roommates for a variety of reasons. One is that many coaches believe that athletes who live together form deeper bonds that translate into team camaraderie and improved team performance. 

On the other hand, some argue that players need space from each other precisely because they spend so much time together outside of their living spaces. For the most part, it seems that student-athletes agree that it is often more convenient, and more fun, to live with teammates rather than the alternative.

“My favorite part about living on campus is always being able to hang out with my teammates,” Aaron Wells, a senior on the football team, said. “No matter what we do we always have fun when we are around each other.” 

Here at Villanova, most athletes live with each other as roommates. This practice begins freshman year when student-athletes are assigned to live together. Freshman athletes get a chance to bond and form relationships on and off the field. Building a rapport with their teammates helps the new athletes create chemistry, and the continued practice of living with their teammates helps maintain this chemistry.

In discussing their living situations with student-athletes’, they have echoed the sentiment that rooming with their teammates helps overall team performance.     

“I would say it really helps on the court,” Josh Hart, a junior basketball player, said. “You have a certain amount of trust in your teammates because you are always around them. That creates a comfort level on the court.”

Wells is overwhelmingly in favor of living with his teammates. “Living with my teammates helps team camaraderie a lot. We learn how our teammates act, as well as build trust and have that feeling of family.”

Wells also believes that living with his teammates has a huge impact on how the Villanova football team performs on the field. “It has a big effect on our overall success because as we become closer, we know that we will do anything for each other on or off the field.”

“When I’m in the game I feel compelled to protect them in any way possible,” Taurus Phillips, a junior football player, said. 

Phillips suggested that he feels this way because he knows his teammates better from living with them. 

Benefits of living with teammates in on-campus housing seem to go beyond proximity to practice facilities and dining halls. Between class, practice and games, athletes have a lot on their plates. 

Having a roommate who understands what that stress feels like can be helpful for athletes, especially when they are in season. Rooming with someone who can sympathize with the frustrations that stem from the busy schedules, both academic and athletic, and trying to get it all done can be extremely helpful to a student athlete. 

Living with teammates “gives me a way to relieve some stress quickly,” Wells said. He explained further that hanging out with his teammates allows him “to forget about what’s stressing me out.” 

Senior defensive back CJ Logan agreed with Wells, and added that living with his teammates gives him a built-in support system. 

“Living with my teammates is cool because they understand the student-athlete struggle and it brings the team together and helps us maintain our bond,” Logan said.

In this respect, living with teammates can help student-athletes maintain their sanity in the face of the hectic lives they live.

In addition, living with teammates can be instrumental in the recovery process of an injured student-athlete. Phillips tore his lateral meniscus as a freshman, an injury that can be extremely disheartening to a young athlete with big aspirations. 

However, Philips cited living with a teammate his freshman year as a huge reason he was able to recover quickly. 

“I tore my lateral meniscus my freshman year and I was depressed. [One day] my roommates came in and cheered me up and I completely forgot what I was [upset] about,” Phillips said. 

However, living with teammates is not without its challenges. Student-athletes spend an extraordinary amount of time together, which can be great for building a sense of team camaraderie, but it can also be a source of conflict among roommates. 

Logan alluded to this when he added “We’re always around the same people and you don’t want issues on the field to carry over in the dorm” and vice versa.

Katie Latimer, a senior on the women’s water polo team, also commented on the notion that athletes spend too much time together. 

“We are with each other at practice and then live together,” Latimer said. “That’s a lot of togetherness. By the time we are in season we spend all weekend with each other traveling, so the biggest challenge is not getting annoyed by the small things.”

For junior basketball player Josh Hart, however, the challenge of living with teammates is more individual. “For me, when we lose I’ll go into my room and won’t talk to anybody. That’s more of a personal challenge,” he said.

Living on campus also means following University rules, as well as rules established by coaches. While this does not present a huge problem, some student-athletes see these rules as annoying.  

For example, Wells cited the fact that he and his roommates “have to be quiet all of the time” as something he would change if he could. 

“Sometimes we just like to be loud and enjoy ourselves and not worry about anything,” he said. 

This can be difficult in a highly regulated on-campus housing facility. 

Despite these small complaints, Wells said he actually really likes living on campus. 

“The best part about living on campus is being able to hang out with my teammates.” Wells said. “No matter what we do we always have fun when we are around each other.” 

Hart agreed that living on campus as a student athlete has its perks. 

“Living on campus…you get to meet a lot of people, and that’s one thing I really like about it,” Hart said.

While professionals are still undecided on whether student-athletes should live together, the University’s athletes appear to be unanimous in their belief that living with their teammates is the best-case scenario, on and off the field.