• Ta’Neeka DeMyers

Dealing with Cutler Gym Disaster

This spring semester, the athletes of Olivet College have been adjusting to the sprinkler head incident that occurred on December 29, 2019 inside the Cutler Athletic Center’s main competition gym.

Athletic Director Ryan Shockey posted a letter online on January 7, 2020 to inform the school and its alumni about what happened and how the gym’s “floor was damaged beyond repair” due to the water from the sprinklers bursting. The letter said that the sports teams needed to find a different site to play the remaining basketball games and have other (sports) practices this season. It said, “We felt it was needed to find a way to . . . not force our players and fans to go anywhere outside of Olivet for games and practices . . . there is not much work to do, but we will need to take the time to make it a safe environment for not only the players, but also fans coming to the game.”

When interviewed in person, Shockey said, “Our insurance company has been great, they helped us put money into Upton so the Upton gym floor has been completely refinished, and they refinished the MacKay floor so we can practice in MacKay.” He said they also changed the scoreboard light bulbs, and checked for functioning shock clocks and horns in Upton Gym to make sure it is “up to code” for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) because it has not been checked for 20 years. He said that the winter sports are impacted the least from the incident, but spring sports like baseball, softball, track, basketball, wrestling, cheerleading, and men’s volleyball are impacted the most. Shockey even said that there would be “temporary hitting cages” in MacKay for baseball and softball to practice. He said the project for repairs for Cutler’s gym should be done between the first or second week of March this year.

Men’s basketball player and senior, Keyon Rainey said since the basketball team had to play at a gym in Battle Creek (Battle Creek Central High School) for the first two weeks after the incident, they didn’t have their “own” locker room.