By: Matthew Revels, Sports Editor
The Jetspys banquet — a big end of the year awards ceremony and gala celebrating the accomplishments of student athletes — almost went without the “banquet” this year.
But at the last minute, SGA President Ian Lecki stepped in to make sure that food would be served at the event, as it always has been, when it happens on Tuesday in Fugate Gymnasium.
In years past, the Jetspys had always consisted of a dinner, videos highlighting the athletic season, and awards for student athletes that were voted on by other student athletes. Awards are given out in categories like Best Game, Comeback Athlete of the Year, and Mr. and Mrs. Jet.
This year, though, plans were put in place to cut the dinner portion of the Jetspys to help make the banquet shorter. Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Vice President Hayden VanDePol said the group was trying to address concern that the event was just too long.
“We wanted to speed Jetspys up so we were not there for 2½ hours,” VanDePol said.
SAAC also donated $1,000 to the Make-A-Wish foundation, as stated in its contract with the NCAA. Due to this, SAAC tries to fundraise more money during its live auction. SAAC president, Lauren Esfeld said that the auction happened but did not do as well as in years past.
“We had the auction at the same time as we usually do,” Esfeld said. “However, less money came in than expected, so we had to ask SGA for help.”
But many athletes were against cutting food, saying they wanted their dinner.
Junior McKinzie Weaver, a volleyball player, said that the Jetspys aren’t even the Jetspys without the food.
“Eating with teammates is one of our favorite bonding activities,” she said. “It brings us together as a team and as an athletic community. We don’t want hangry athletes at Jetspys.”
Nathan Huie, a senior on the men’s soccer team, said his teammates also were unhappy when they heard food was being cut.
“We were definitely bummed out since that has been part of the tradition in the past,” he said. “Having dinner is important because it brings the guys together over a meal and makes the award ceremony much more enjoyable.”
Hearing that athletes were upset, Student Government Association resident and baseball player Ian Lecki went to the coaches of each team to see what they and their teams thought about food being cut.
“I decided that I would reach out to the different coaches,” Lecki said. “I talked to men’s and women's basketball, men’s and women's soccer, baseball, softball, volleyball and wrestling. They all came back with unanimous votes for food.
“That's when I went to Athletic Director Joanna Pryor, and I just asked, ‘How can we make this possible? Is there anything we can do to try and bring dinner to the athletes?’” Lecki said. “I've been working with AD Pryor for the past couple of days along with Chris Heck (head of Great Western Dining on campus) to get pricing for dinner.”
After weighing many ideas, Lecki said, he settled on asking SGA for funds. On Tuesday, April 18, Bill 2322 was passed allowing $2,500 for food at the Jetspys. The funds will provide salad, rolls, brisket, chicken, sides and dessert. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. with ceremonies starting at 7 p.m. Pryor said that all members of the student body are welcome but must RSVP to the SAAC email email@example.com.
PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Unsplash