By: Lindsey Ahbe
Some athletes will make UF home from the day they graduate high school. But others make UF home a few years into their time in college. This year, Oiler athletics initiated eight new transfer students into sports teams this year. With 32 total transfer athletes, the Findlay athletic department and teams don’t mind adding veterans to their rosters.
Brandi Laurita, the athletic director of the University of Findlay, sees the transfer athletes as a good compliment to the teams and university.
“The transfer athletes add something different. They add a different perspective and experience,” said Laurita.
The men and women’s Head Swim and Dive Coach, Andrew Makepeace, currently has four transfer students on his teams, which he says they have acclimated well to UF.
“Generally, they [the transfer athletes] transition well. I think our team has a really strong culture to really help them and make people feel very welcomed.”
Most of the athletes that transfer to the teams at UF find their way by contacting the athletic coaches, or through the NCAA division II transfer portal. The transfer portal allows for the athletes to talk to other coaches, while adhering to the NCAA guidelines and rules.
“I think what’s interesting is the NCAA has made transferring a much more accessible path. You see a lot more people that have reached out,” said Makepeace. “For me, it’s an increase of a few hundred percent over the course of the last couple years.”
Makepeace says that when the athletes contact him, he knows that the students have an interest in the school, and not just athletic teams.
“I’m not one who is going out there reaching out to find potential transfer students. If they are going to have interest in our school, I generally will see them come to me first,” Makepeace said.
Makepeace likes to make sure that the transfer students are finding what they want in both the academic and athletic aspects at UF.
“As a transfer student, I think a lot of perspectives [transfer athletes] want to find the best fit and obviously didn’t find it at their prior school and we want to help make sure that they find that even if it isn’t here,” Makepeace said.
Makepeace also admires the athletes for looking for what they want from a collegiate career.
“People are seeking new opportunities and student athletes in particular are finding what they really want out of an experience,” Makepeace said. “It’s almost an admirable quality that people are understanding what they need rather than just sticking through because that’s what they’re supposed to do,” said Makepeace.
Transfer athletes can have a difficult time transitioning to a new university, but UF seems to do a good job merging these students into their culture. Alana Sundermann, junior volleyball transfer, echoes that idea the UF helps make it easier on transfer students.
“All the girls on my team are super helpful and really nice,” said Sundermann.
It may also be hard to get to know the professors being a transfer student, but Sundermann applauds UF professors for being very accommodating.
“All of the professors I’ve met here are super welcoming and helpful,” said Sundermann.
Sundermann does feel like she made the right decision in coming to UF. Not only for her athletic career, but also for her professional career.
“I feel like my education is more for me here and I can focus on myself a little bit more,” said Sundermann.
While providing a new opportunity for student athletes, UF is also gaining new perspectives with the transfer athletes, which Laurita says makes UF a better campus overall.
“Because we have so few [transfer athletes], they’re a good complement to our student athlete population.”