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Spartans’ symbolic signing excludes athletes without scholarships

Ellie Spelhaug, Sports Editor

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Every year, Pleasant Valley High School holds a symbolic signing to celebrate the hard work of Spartan athletes moving onto collegiate level sports. Seven student-athletes signed for Pleasant Valley on Nov. 8, and the next signing will be hosted in the spring for another round of celebrations.

Some athletes are being withheld from participating in the signing due to regulations put on by past practices by the school. A national letter of intent is a contract binding the athlete to the chosen school. Athletes taking the path of going Division I, Division II, Junior College, or NAIA will sign an NLI during a period specific to their sport. Pleasant Valley only allows students that sign an NLI to participate in a symbolic signing held in the school’s auditorium.

Senior Caroline Sharis has been dedicating hard work to her academic and rowing career, which led her to getting recruited by Harvard University in the Ivy League. “I really loved the balance of incredible academics with the Division I rowing program that has a great team atmosphere,” Sharis commented. “ I’ve always loved Boston; it’s a really cool city and a great college town with so many schools nearby.”

Ivy League schools are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships, so Sharis was not asked to participate in the school’s signing day. “It would be a nice opportunity to be recognized by my peers since I’ve been working towards this for years. It’d be a nice way to celebrate the next stage of my life,” Sharis added.

Another group of athletes not asked to participate in the school signing day are athletes that commit to a Division III school. Division III schools offer very competitive academic and athletic opportunities, but can’t offer athletic scholarships. Seniors Lily Feldman and Jenna Ruccolo have decided to take on the Division III route. Ruccolo will be taking her soccer talents to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. “I chose to commit here because of the amazing academic reputation along with the fact that I could continue to play soccer in one of the most competitive DIII conferences,” Ruccolo commented. “Division III provides very competitive academic and athletic programs, and regardless of athletic scholarships, I don’t see why those athletes can’t be recognized as well.”

Feldman, a critical member of Pleasant Valley’s 2017 tennis state championship team, chose to continue playing tennis at Skidmore College. “I chose Skidmore because of its rigorous academics and competitive tennis at the Division III level,” Feldman said. “The town of Saratoga Springs is so beautiful, and the school offers my desired major of International Affairs.” As another athlete withheld from the signing day, Feldman adds her thoughts on the situation. “All students who sign to play a sport at the collegiate level should have the great feeling of being recognized for their accomplishments in front of their school. However, I understand the reasons why we might not be included due to the absence of athletic scholarships.”

Pleasant Valley tries its best to commemorate all athletes going onto the next level, while still following past principles. They are working on a way to honor athletes without athletic scholarships to continue praising the hard work of student athletes.

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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School
Spartans’ symbolic signing excludes athletes without scholarships