Late Wednesday afternoon, Whitney D. stopped by Memorial Gym to get some photos of the newest additions to the women's basketball team. Along the way, other changes on the athletic side of campus were apparent, sure signs that the 2012-2013 season is on the way.
When the Vanderbilt baseball team's NCAA tournament run ended in Raleigh on Monday night, Vanderbilt's 2011-2012 sports season officially came to an end as well. But as the old season ended, the new 2012-2013 season was coming to life with the beginning of classes of the first semester of summer school.
Although freshmen student-athletes on the women's basketball team have been coming to campus for summer school for more than ten years, this year there's a new twist. Student-athletes are allowed to take two classes during summer school. At Vanderbilt, there are two summer semesters, so student-athletes can take two classes in one of the summer semesters or one class in each of the summer sessions.
In the past, incoming freshmen have taken the first option, arriving on campus in early July for the second summer semester and taking two classes. This year, the entire team will be on campus for both summer semesters, so the freshmen arrived on campus in time to complete enrollment and begin classes on Tuesday. They're taking one class in the June semester and then will take another class in the July semester.
The roster changes for the sports teams are't the only signs of preparation for the 2012-2013 season. At the football stadium, the natural grass was removed during the spring. Therefore, instead of its usual green, the field is grayish brown prior to the installation of turf, which will happen later in the summer. In the north end zone, construction of the new "hill" area for additional seating is underway.
Over on Jess Neeley Drive, the McGugin Center, the nerve center of the Vanderbilt athletics program, is undergoing construction. The new phase of renovations will include an improved Hendrix Room, the cafeteria for student-athletes, and an auditorium.
Outside Memorial Gym, there aren't any visible changes, but . . .
. . . inside the gym, the striking new video board (aka "jumbotron") has been installed.
Vanderbilt's top-25 class of incoming freshmen includes six players: Kristen Gaffney from North Carolina, Jasmine Jenkins from Georgia, Heather Bowe (pronounced "Bovey") from Wisconsin, Kendall Shaw from Texas, Rayte'a (pronounced "Ray-Teah") Long from Ohio, and Morgan Batey from Georgia.
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The math: 11 players last year - 1 loss to graduation + 6 freshman = 16 players in all. This photo only shows 15 because senior Tiffany Clarke is working a summer internship and hadn't yet gotten back from work when this photo was taken. (Nadine Ndip is a walkon, so she doesn't count against the NCAA's women's basketball scholarship limit of 15.)
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Sophomores in terms of eligibility: Kady Schrann, Nadine Ndip, Maggie Morrison, and Clair Watkins. It's possible that in future photos Maggie will drop down a class in terms of eligibility. She missed most of the 2011-2012 season due to a torn ACL in December and has applied for a medical redshirt, but the outcome isn't yet known.
Juniors in terms of eligibility: Christina Foggie, Stephanie Holzer, Jasmine Lister. Academically, Stephanie is a senior that dropped down a class in eligibility because of a redshirt freshman season. She'll complete her undergraduate degree in December and then become a graduate student. She's doing a summer internship, but arrived back on campus just in time for photos.
Seniors in terms of eligibility: Elan Brown and Gabby Smith. Tiffany Clarke is also a senior and would be in this photo, but she hadn't yet returned from work. LIke Stephanie, she's doing a summer internship to fulfill requirements for her degree.
Photos copyright 2012 by Whitney D. for VandyMania.com.