Few Jaspers have forgotten the intensity that rattled Draddy Gymnasium in the final regular season game of the Men’s Basketball season when a missed layup by the Gaels won Manhattan College the game in overtime against the school’s biggest in-conference rival.
Why, then, did the Manhattan College community, after a win that propelled the Jaspers to a M.A.A.C. championship and their first N.C.A.A. tournament berth in almost a decade, encounter such a rude awakening the next day?
It may have had something to do with the article that Matt Jones of Fox Sports wrote about Manhattan that night.
“To say it looks like a high school gymnasium would be somewhat of an insult to most of our nation’s high school facilities,” commented Jones on the state of MC’s part recreational center-part athletic arena.
It’s worth noting that Jones used his negative critiques of Draddy as a Segway to discuss the game, the team and the Sixth Borough as one of the most exciting environments he had experienced all of last season.
But still, that one hurt.
For most students, Draddy is a part of life here at Manhattan and an embodiment of the spirit of the school.
“I like the fact that it looks a little bit rustic and vintage,” said senior transfer student Chris Gomez, “part of the reason I left Iona was because when I came to Manhattan, I could feel the history, I could feel the tradition when I walked in.”
Despite the overall positivity of Jones’ article, Manhattan College administration has been jolted into action, and Manhattan College students have encountered many new policies surrounding the Draddy facilities.
Students, for example, can no longer play recreationally on the center court, which the men’s basketball team uses for games and practices.
Students have also been asked, in the light of the new Student Commons, not to use the fitness center and weight room in Draddy, which are now reserved for student athletes.
“That’s not a new policy,” assured Amanda McEntire, the assistant athletic director for facilities and event management, when asked about the new gym guidelines.
“We started [closing the middle court] last year – namely to protect the court’s surface and playing condition throughout the basketball season,” said McEntire in an emailed statement.
McEntire, who is also the Women’s Tennis coach, said that when she first arrived to campus in 2012, the center court became dirty and unsafe for collegiate play. So in response, they closed the center court off from non-athlete students. However, this policy has only recently been widely enforced and well known by students.
“We’re always trying to keep the facility clean and safe,” said McEntire.
These are the policy changes and improvements that need, and are going to be made to the facilities.
“Draddy is probably—from the outside—one of the worst [facilities] in the MAAC,” said Sophomore Mary Donnelly, an outside hitter for the Manhattan College Volleyball team, adding “I am very fond of Draddy and I think it has it’s own kind of character.
Amanda Critelli, a freshman defensive specialist for the Jasper volleyball team agreed, even though she mentioned a leak in the roof of the gymnasium that needed to be fixed.
Both ladies were pleased with the new policies that allow student athletes privilege over the facilities.
“I think it’s good that the athletes have their own gym to work out in since we don’t have many privileges,” said Critelli, citing the fact the volleyball players do not even have their own locker rooms in the gym.
In regards to future upgrades to the facilities, McEntire discussed such plans as the addition of seat backs to the larger bleachers in Draddy.
Andy Ryan, vice president of facilities at the College has also mentioned future upgrades to Draddy as “part of a larger master plan for the College.”
“What ends up being part of the master plan is still unclear,” said Ryan, who did not discard the idea of a “new Draddy.”
The improvements to our athletic facilities as a result of increased media attention seems, at least for now, to be an integral part of Manhattan College’s future.
Donnelly and Critelli are unsure of what these upgrades entail but certainly are excited for them.
“We hope they continue to make improvements for all of the athletes,” they said.