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Ballin’ Over Break

Potentially what campus looks like over break. Bwog doesn’t know

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stay on campus over winter break? You may be like Bwog and predict a mental breakdown would ensue if you had to see Butler one more time after your last exam, let alone repeatedly for weeks. But a winter break in Morningside Heights is the reality for many athletes who have games between finals and the start of next semester. Bwog got a chance to sit down with senior basketball stars Brian Barbour of the Men’s team and Tyler Simpson of the Women’s team to find out what exactly goes on around here when the rest of us are sipping eggnog in post-finals bliss. 

Bwog: Most of us get out of here pretty quickly after finals are over, but you guys stick around for practices and games. What’s it like to watch everyone pack up and leave for the holidays while you sit tight? Is it a little depressing? Or does it give you some time to unwind and steer clear of Butler?
Brian: Being here with no one on campus can actually be a little relaxing. You and a couple of other teams are really the only ones around, which gives you a little peace and quiet. Of course, the campus is a lot more fun with everyone around but sometimes it’s nice to have a little rest and relaxation.
Tyler: It’s actually pretty relaxing to stay here when everyone leaves. We have the campus all to ourselves and have no homework or tests to worry about. We get to go home for a couple days so I’ll get to see my family, which is really nice. We also get a chance to make noise and have fun as a team.
Bwog: If you’re not traveling for a game, what’s a typical day like over break? How do you spend your time off the court?

Brian Barbour CC’13

Brian: Typical non-travel day includes waking up for a little breakfast and some free time before practice. Practice is usually around mid day for us and then over break we try to get adventurous and branch out to new restaurants around the city and get out of the Columbia bubble.

Tyler: I wake up around 10 to go grab some breakfast. We usually head to practice around 1 and then I work in the athletic office until 5. After that I might go shopping downtown or catch a movies with my teammates or some of my other friends that live in NYC.
Bwog: The dining halls are closed! No Ferris! No John Jay! What do you do for food every day?
Brian: Actually not eating the dinning halls over break is one of the better parts. Just getting a break from the similar food everyday is great. Sometimes we will have a guy cook up a little something for the team but mostly we just eat out.
Tyler: Chipotle. Chipotle. Chipotle. We get meal money everyday so I eat Chipotle at least 4 times a week. When I’m not eating Chipotle, I cook in our suite. Sometimes we combine our money and make a big feast.
Bwog: We imagine you spend quite a bit a time with your teammates over break. What sorts of things do you guys do together? Any special events/outings/adventures?

Tyler Simpson CC’13

Brian: A lot of the guys go out to restaurants and stuff. Generally, we keep it pretty casual and low key so we don’t do anything too adventurous or crazy. Exploring the city is always a freshman favorite, though, as they are still learning the ropes of the city.

Tyler: Usually if we stay in NYC we’ll go to a Broadway show. My freshman year they took us to see The Lion King, which was really exciting since I was dying to go. Hopefully, this year we get a chance to do something fun in LA.

Bwog: Do a lot of families come to visit? If so, where do you take them?
Brian: Families always seem to love to visit over the winter break! Being in NYC is a huge draw and no one wants to turn down a trip to come out. Usually you take them out to eat, maybe a play or something touristy, and just try to show them as much of NYC as you can in your free time.
Tyler: I usually take my family around Harlem and Time square. When my friends come to stay with me, we’ll usually explore the Lower East Side and SoHo to do some light shopping.

Bwog: It looks like the Men’s team is going to be here for New Year’s Eve. How do you celebrate the holiday (without the champagne, we’re assuming)?

Brian: New Years Eve usually is just a low key event with some of the guys. Usually we have practice the next day early so it ends up just being a low key night with the fellas.

Tyler: We’re actually going to be in LA for New Years and apparently we’re doing something as a team but it’s a big surprise.


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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Why do they get meal money?

    1. ummm says:

      @ummm they have to be here instead of home for practice. dining halls aren’t open. why wouldn’t they get meal money?

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous I have to pay for my meals wherever I happen to be, and so should they.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous But you’re not forced to stay here. They are.

          1. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous I’m not exactly sure why that makes a difference. Surely meals must be purchased in any location.

    2. Right? says:

      @Right? Isn’t that a violation of the Ivy League rules?

      How do I get meal money? I’m probably better at academics than most athletes are at their sports. I was sort of recruited. Lemme get some Chipotle money!

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous You don’t have to be here over break, dumbass.

        1. Neither do they. says:

          @Neither do they. Athletes don’t ever HAVE TO be on campus. They’re not beholden to the terms of an athletic scholarship.

          Your friend,


          1. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous You piece of shit, yes they do or else they get kicked off the team. Get your head out of your ass and stop acting like you’re better than them, because you’re clearly not participating in a varsity sport at the same time as studying.

          2. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous But no one is forcing them to be on the team is the thing. That’s effectively like me doing some club that “forces” me to be on campus during something like spring break to do charity work, or something. No one is paying for my food.

            I get these are varsity athletes and all that, just wanted to point out that you’re not quite right here. – @ DECEMBER 14, 2012 @ 4:38 PM

    3. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous A lot of people want or “have” to be here over break for a variety of reasons. I have stayed here every year because it’s expensive to go home and staying here allows me to work and earn extra money. it’s possible the money for this comes from a private source, but in all likelihood this money came from the hundreds of dollars of my student life fee that is funneled toward the athletic department. That would certainly fund my chipotle over break. Athletes contribute in a unique way to our community, but they don’t deserve special privileges at the expense of other students.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I miss Columbia already…

  • really? says:

    @really? that’s all that some people got out of this interview? is the fact that they get meal money? some of you are really pathetic.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Why is our interest in a controversy that is fascinating and critical pathetic? Some of us have cultivated a propensity to intellectual argument, not socially normative bullshit. If you think that athletes deserve free food, offer an intelligent counterargument. If your mind is too empty to give a damn on this issue, then I call you pathetic.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Why does everything have to be a controversy? This isn’t a Columbia policy, it’s an NCAA policy. You read all sorts of stuff on ESPN about actual athletic controversies at big colleges. This isn’t the Big 10, it’s the Ivy League. I’m pretty sure there haven’t been any recruiting violations or incidents of special privilege for athletes at Columbia. I honestly don’t get why people at this school feel the need to belittle the athletics program and the athletes every chance they get. These kids aren’t on scholarship and they have the same academic work load that you do. With the exception of a talented few, most of the athletes here are not trying to play pro ball. They’re here to get the same education that you are. The focus on this article should have been on Columbia basketball, but instead you guys choose to focus on the 20 bucks they give these kids to buy food? Pathetic is the right word for it. In my four years here I’ve learned that Columbia students can make a controversy out of anything and at this point it’s all just starting to come off as whiny.

        But hey, good luck to you. If you think bitching (and that’s what you’re doing-bitching) about this on a blog if going to change the NCAA’s mind, knock yourself out.

  • They see me trollin' says:

    @They see me trollin' Your comments. They please Tard the cat.

  • BSGS says:

    @BSGS GS students on food stamps, athletes get fast food money. Sweet deal Columbia…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous PS you guys are great! can’t wait to see both teams do great things come january

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Bwog, I would be very interested to read an article about the different benefits athletes get and maybe hear arguments from both sides about the justification. I was surprised to hear about this particular one and am curious about what other ones exist and where the funding actually comes from. Not trying to bash athletes–for all we know their benefits are subsidized by sponsorships or justified by the alum donations they bring in, I just think it would be good to get all the facts out there since it seems like this is a divisive issue that’s come up a few times this year.

  • Calm down says:

    @Calm down Just to set the record straight:

    1) The portion of your student life fees “funneled toward athletics” does not go toward the teams themselves but rather toward the free admission you get to every single Columbia Athletics event.

    2) Athletes get meal money because the NCAA has a “no pay to play policy,” meaning that no athlete should be prevented from playing his or her sport due to an inability to pay. Thus, when practice schedules force them to remain at school when the dining halls are closed, rather than return home and eat on their parents’ dime (like you all do when you go home for break), the NCAA provides a small food allowance to offset the extra cost of food when meal plans are not usable.

    You too can earn this paltry food allowance if you spent 20 hours a week working your ass off on top of a full courseload. Don’t want to do that? Didn’t think so.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Yes, BUT, just want to point out that ALL athletes receive meal money on breaks (which means all breaks when dining halls are closed, like election day break), NOT just athletes who are on the meal plan. And sure, most are on a meal plan, but surprisingly many aren’t.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous You’re wrong, buddy. Only athletes required to stay over break for practice receive meal money. If you’re an athlete, and you decided to stay over break and practice on your own even if your team isn’t here, then you won’t receive money.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous Sorry I was unclear, I know that. I didn’t mean athletes who choose to stay on their own get money, I know they don’t. The point I was going for was that, for athletes asked to stay, even those who aren’t on the meal plan get money.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous And a lot of people here work their asses off 20 hours (or more) a week for Columbia in non-athletic pursuits on top of a full courseload…

    3. Wow. says:

      @Wow. I work 40 hrs a week and go to school full-time. That 20 hr thing is cute!

      Good luck transitions to the real world with your athletic GPA and professional references from Dodge Fitness Center staff!

      1. anon says:

        @anon Try having a higher average GPA then the rest of the school, our own separate (and honestly, much more involved) alumni network, and the fact that commitment and dedication to self-improvement as shown through athletics has been considered a high point of my resume in virtually every interview I’ve had. It’s not about the sport itself it’s about the commitment, and as an athlete I would have been inclined to be impressed by yours if you hadn’t been such a snot about it.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous That’s awesome for you guys, and I’m glad athletics has been such a good experience for you. I just don’t understand the weird reverence surrounding athletes. They make sacrifices to do something they love, so do most students at Columbia I would think. I realize athletes are a more unified group, but the special treatment and excessive recognition/praise for doing pretty much what we all do in one way or another gets annoying.

          1. so says:

            @so I’m not an athlete nor do I wish I was one, but this is crazy how you attack them for having an awesome alum network and other great, helpful services that they didn’t create. I for one have an internship off campus that I do for 20 hours a week. Besides a subway card, I have to pay for my lunch myself, and that is a-okay with me, because my internship does not have the dual role of attempting to rouse school spirit in a school of assholes like us Columbians.

            If you spend 20+ hours a week doing spec or something CU-related, and are upset that athletes get a meal allowance and alum network…well…be the change you want to see in your organization. The first athletes that came here weren’t afforded these things. These resources grew out of an active network of athletes, both past and present, who cared about creating a better environment for athletes here. So kindly get off your high horses and stop complaining and bitching at/about athletes!

      2. WoW says:

        @WoW Calling bullshit on the 40 hours a week. How is it possible to be present at a job 40 hours per week and still be enrolled in at least 12 credit-hours (or more probably 15-16) of class during the weekdays?
        You know what else is cute? “Good luck transitions”.

  • fellow bwoger, fear not, for i have a distraction says:

    @fellow bwoger, fear not, for i have a distraction

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Can I just say, I LOVE Brian Barbour.

    1. Ok. says:

      @Ok. Nice try, Brian,

  • Johnny Football says:

    @Johnny Football You might think that 20 hrs. is cute, but it’s actually tough. Just like you working 40 hrs. a week and just like everyone else with a full school workload. The only thing more cute that the 20 hrs. I practice is every week is my strong jawline and all-American smile. You made some great points, in a very concise, well-thought out fashion and for that, I would like to offer to buy you a sandwich with all of the free money that the school is giving me.

    “Good luck transitions to the real world with your athletic GPA and professional references from Dodge Fitness Center staff!”

    And good luck transitions too to you!

    And to all you other bwog-stalking bungholes, go study for a final or something you fuggin nerds.

  • Matt Bystol says:

    @Matt Bystol Thanks for al the support guys. Lord knows I love being on campus away from my family over the holidays. Just get me paid.

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