Spartan Sports Like Never Before

“Spartan Sports Like Never Before” is the motto of the newly created Impact Sports, and how fitting it is. Founded in July 2013 by senior Alex Scharg, Impact Sports covers all things MSU athletics, from men’s basketball to quidditch and everything in between.

“I looked at other news organizations and I went to apply at other places, but they wanted me to drop all of my other extra-curricular activities so I was like why not?” said Scharg. “Let me just try to create my own.”

Most of the founding members never thought it would grow as quickly as it has. One person who was not surprised was Jonathan Yales, director of content strategy for Impact Sports.

Logo of Impact Sports
Logo of Impact Sports

“We wanted a medium where we could cover the sport that we love, cover the game that we love, get access to the players we want to talk to, the questions we want to get in,” said Yales. “So when we heard there’s a structure to it, it kind of made sense. It was like yeah, this thing is going to take off.”

Their website, www.impact89fm.org/sports, launched in early October and features stories and podcasts covering all MSU sports. As of the beginning of February, their website has had over 17 thousand different viewers and nearly 40 thousand page views. Surprisingly the most viewed content usually comes from the smaller sports such as dodgeball and women’s hockey.

“To me, the most rewarding thing is to have the smaller sports such as tennis, or such as golf, and even club sports like club quidditch come in our studios for interviews,” said Anthony Serafino, assistant sports director. “…you’re giving these guys exposure as well as we’re giving our staffers reporting and live interviewing experience and it’s something you just can’t teach.”

Impact Sports is also very active in social media. As of March 25, their Facebook page has 1,470 “likes” and tens of thousands of people have seen their posts. Since the October launch, their growth has been exponential.

“It’s something I refer to as ‘hockey stick growth’,” said Serafino. “It’s grown tremendously, viewership has gone through the roof.”

Not only is Impact Sports growing in popularity, it is also growing in size. Scharg said the Impact told Sports they could not bring in any more people because of how many already joined.

“The Impact is made up of about 211 staffers in all departments,” said Serafino. “Just Sports alone makes up about a fourth of the whole Impact.”

Michael Higer, news coach for Impact Sports, is optimistic for the future of the organization.

“So far we’ve really started to branch out into a lot of the school but I want to be one of those names out there on campus that students go to as one of their main sports sources.”

The Drinking Problem

Underage drinking can be difficult to stop or even monitor on a campus as large as Michigan State University. Not only do students drink in the open at fraternity and sorority parties, they also drink behind closed doors in the dorms. As the resident assistant for Bailey Hall, Ben Bailey is responsible for reporting any student he sees drinking. But his job can be more difficult than it sounds.

“On the weekends you can usually see drunk residents more than them actually drinking. People don’t usually walk around with open bottles of beer in the hallways,” Bailey said.

Binge drinking is approximately five drinks in two hours for men or four drinks in two hours for women. One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, according to the University Physician’s Office.

 binge drinking bar chart

The drinking problem is usually at its worst when freshmen first come to Michigan State, according to Bailey. Excessive drinking can impair classroom performance, which he said is one of the main reasons freshmen slow down their drinking after the first few months.

“Usually after the first semester of their freshman year they curb their drinking more going into their second semester and even more so into their sophomore year,” Bailey said.

About 24 percent of Americans between ages 12-20 report alcohol consumption, according to a 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The MSU Campus Police website said there were 577 reported liquor violations in 2012. Jalen Smith, a freshman at MSU, said if punishments do not stop the students from drinking and resident assistants have their hands tied when the students are behind closed doors, then something drastic would be needed.

“The only way to stop kids from drinking in the dorms would be to have police securing the dorms at all times, but that’s a little extreme when there’s more serious issues at hand in the world,” Smith said.

MSU has set up a website designed to help students who think they might have a drinking problem. Run from the University Physician’s Office, the website, called “Thinking About Drinking”, has resources that students can use to get help for their problem as well as answers to common questions about drinking.