The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

Athletes’ voices amplified in professional athletics survey

A survey conducted to the community on Oct. 30 revealed that while participation in both girls’ and boys’ sports is strong, the school lags in multi-sport involvement and on-campus coaching numbers. Interviews in this podcast reveals athletic inputs of the school from the athletes and families perspectives.

TEAM. Boys basketball athletes huddle up in a circle, supoprting one another during a game. This support is one of the many positives the athletic’s programs foster. “Athletes and families largely reported that SPA athletics live up to the school mission,” Senior Siri Pattison said. (Ali Browne)

Siri Pattison: In March of 2023, students filled out a survey assessing how athletics at SPA lived up to the school’s mission and values. The survey was part of a wider analysis of the athletic department conducted by a hired consulting service. The consultants came to SPA in May as part of the assessment, interviewing students, families, and alumni to create a snapshot of where SPA athletics is now– where the program is succeeding and where it is falling short. As part of the assessment, consultants offered immediate, short-term, and long-term action recommendations for the athletics department to become truly excellent.

Findings from the survey were presented to the SPA community on Oct. 30. The presentation started by highlighting how the current Athletics program compares to national averages and peer schools. Participation is strong for both girls’ and boys sports, but the school falls short on multi sport participation as well as the number of on-campus coaches. Coach salary is slightly above the mean, but equipment funding is slightly below.

In the interviews, athletes and families largely reported that SPA athletics live up to the school mission of “shaping the minds and the hearts of the people that will change the world.” This also was seen to go beyond those infamous few words– interviewees reported that athletics programs and coaches understood the culture of SPA and that academics often come before sports. Another positive highlighted in the interview portion was that students have access to athletic administrators when needed. Overall, athletes and families seem to be satisfied with the athletic opportunities at SPA.

However, that does not mean that everything is perfect. Interviewees asked for centralization between athletic programs, better communication from coaches, and more consistency between coaches and in-game experiences.

In the survey results of over 1100 SPA community members, only half said that the school equally supports different teams. The consulting firm highlighted that this is concerning, especially in how it differs from the actual data about funding. This shows the need for better value communication and action to support all teams equally.

In many action steps laid on by the consulting firm, perhaps the biggest one was focusing on coach stability. SPA has high levels of coach turnover, impacting teams’ consistency and culture.

This assessment comes in the third month of new K-12 Athletic Director Paul Moyer’s time at SPA. He was enthusiastic about the results and the opportunities for growth within the program. He said that looking at SPA’s student-athletes, their class and excellence are evident, and that using the results of this survey, the department can create special experiences for all its programs and athletes.

Madelyn Moser: I’m Madelyn, she/her pronouns. I’m a junior. I play basketball, which is my main sport, I play volleyball and track also.

Pattison: Could you talk a little bit about how you experience those programs differently? Do you feel like there’s different support from the athletics administration, in the sports and how do you kind of feel that

Moser: I feel like basketball is a lot different from the other ones because volleyball, it’s like its own sport, there’s not like, the boys also don’t have volleyball and track it’s like, both together, you know. So like, they don’t have to balance two different programs of the same sports with like, the same needs. So I think that’s definitely something that’s a lot different. And I know they try to do their best, but it is hard to balance. For basketball, it’s hard to balance like boys and girls at the same time, especially when we have so many people occupying the gym during the season.

Pattison: Are there ways do you feel like SBA athletics administration explicitly could be better about showing they do care about the boys and girls programs equally?

Moser: I don’t know if there’s anything that AD can do. But just, the amount of support at the games in general. like, I know that the boys are more like of a competitive program than we are, at least from last year’s perspective. But I still feel like the school could go and show their support a bit more. Because in volleyball, we didn’t have a super great season, I mean, we were were decent, but like we weren’t like everyone wanted to go see us play, you know. But we still had a fair amount of people coming and comparing that to like what I’ve had in the past years with girls basketball for freshman and sophomore year, like it’s not comparable, the amount of people, like the amount of students who come and show up for the games.

Pattison: could you talk a little bit about coaches? One of the issues highlighted in this assessment was that SPA has a lot of coach turnover, and we don’t have in school coaches– coaches that work at the school and also coach a sport. Have you had coach turnover within your three sports? And how has that affected the team performance and your individual performance?

Moser: Volleyball is probably the biggest one. We’ve had a lot of coach turnover with that. I know before I was there, for like, the past three years, they had a different coach each time. So that was pretty challenging for the program. We’ve had the same coach now for two years. It’s good to have a consistent coaching style, I would say. Track we’ve had the same like assistant coaches, the head coach has like changed up a bit, but I feel like it doesn’t change too much. So we’ve had some more consistent coaching with track. Basketball, I’ve had the same coach, since I was a freshman, which is nice.Some of the assistant coaches have switched up a bit, but mostly, it’s been good. But volleyball, I would say is the biggest one who has a lot of coach turnover.

Pattison: What do you think the challenges have been having inconsistent coaching?

Moser: I think just like, especially if you’re like an older player, and you’ve had to deal with a bunch of coach turnover, and you have to regain your respect again with the coach even though you’ve been with the program for a while, it’s just like having to adjust to a new coaching style and like, re establish yourself. This isn’t from personal experience. This is just what I’ve heard and what I think it’s like for like older upperclassmen who have to deal with that. It’s just kind of frustrating I think, for them.

Pattison: Apart from like this assessment and your personal experience as someone that does three different sports, how do you think the athletic department can continue to grow and better support its athletes?

Moser: I think they’re doing a better job scheduling wise, I feel like they have a better sense of what’s going on there. So we’re less confused as athletes every day on what time our practices are. But I think the biggest thing for me as a basketball player is the facilities. We could still use some better gyms and I feel like we have the means to do so. But now I probably won’t be there to see it when we do. I know they said they’re working on it, but they’ve been saying that for a while. So I don’t really know what’s gonna happen with that.

Pattison: And on the other side of that question, are there new things that you’ve seen this year– with the new like, head athletic director, or just like in the past few years as it’s been a program kind of in flux– what are some new good changes that you’ve seen in the program?

Moser: At least this year, I think they have a new app that they worked on all of last year. And I got more of the details because I’m a captain for the basketball team, but they showed us like all the information it has on there. I think that’s really useful because both the parents and the players can use it, and I feel like it’s a much easier system to see all the scheduling from both the parents and the player perspective. I think that was another one of the big issues, at least for me, like during the basketball season, it gets really confusing, because the scheduling is complicated with how many people use the gym. So I think that was a good addition this year for sure. And the basketball teams also get warm ups this year, which is pretty cool. But I don’t think my volleyball team hasn’t gotten warm ups and my track team won’t probably, but at least the basketball team does. So I think that’s another cool thing. Just giving the teams more stuff. I feel like other schools get to have that and we don’t really.

Pattison: That was Girls Basketball Captain Madelyn Moser, and now I’ll be talking to Boys Basketball Captain Tysen Hayes.

Tysen Hayes: My name is Tysen Hayes. I’m in 12th grade and I play basketball.

Pattison: What do you hope the athletic department can continue working on this year to create better athletic experience?

Hayes: To my understanding the athletic performance, kinda resetting a lot of things. I was talking to Mr. Comfort at one point, and he said, there’s a lot of like old things that need to be redone. And like one of the things is like they’ve created this new athletic website, which I think is a good step. Because I’ve always thought that athletic representation at SPA could be much better and just more in general.

Pattison: On to that note, what are things that you’ve seen the SPA athletic department create this year or at the end of last year? And how has that helped your experience as an athlete?

Hayes: For me, like with basketball, I’m not sure. I mean, I know the athletic department, it plays some role in this, but we’ve tried to do like, Junior Spartans nights, teacher appreciation night and parent appreciation night. Things like that are just ways to get people at the games, which I think is the biggest thing, at least from an athletes perspective. It’s something I care about, because it’s more fun playing with more people watching. But from a strictly athletic department standpoint, I think with the boys state tournament, I think they did a good job of making sure everybody knows about that, and getting more people to go to those games. Because I mean, it’s not every year that school is going to make it to the state tournament and win it for both boys and girls. So like, that was pretty cool.

Pattison: One thing the consulting firm talked about, an area where SPA could do better, is with coach turnover and making sure that we have on campus coaches– coaches that work at the school. What is your experience been with coaching and basketball? Have you had the same coach all four years at SPA? And what have the benefits of that been if so?

Hayes: My coach, I’ve had him for all four years. When I was a freshman it was his second year coaching at SPA and he does not work here. And I think that the team would have definitely benefited from him being here, just because there’s been times where he’s kind of just been out of the loop a little bit, just because, I mean, you can only know so much. He only sees us when we’re practicing with him. So I think that would definitely be a benefit. In many ways.

Pattison: That’s it for this podcast, delving into the athletics assessment survey results. For more podcasts, go to Thanks for listening.

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About the Contributors
Siri Pattison
Siri Pattison, Opinions Editor
My name is Siri Pattison (she/her). I’m the Opinions Editor for The Rubicon Online. At school, I’m involved in the Antiracist Group, Student Activities Committee, and running sports. I love to camp and spend time in the natural world. I can be reached at [email protected].
Ali Browne
Ali Browne, Production Manager
Hi! I'm Ali Browne, and I'm the Production Manager for RubicOnline. This is my third year on staff and in the past, I have been the feature editor and a staff writer. I love diving into music and movies for the arts and entertainment section and doing game coverage (especially for the basketball and soccer teams). I am the Co-President of the Student Activities Committee, co-founder of the pickleball club, and also the captain of the tennis team. A fun fact about me is that I have a twin sister. I can be reached at [email protected].

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