Student Athletic Senate: Revamped

Looking at how the Athletic Senate changed after COVID-19


Krish Dev

Student Athletic Senate President Rohin Inani hands out MVHS-themed tattoos and lanyards at the football game.

Athletic Senate President, senior and Varsity Tennis Captain Rohin Inani was ready for the first football game of the year. With months of fundraising, planning and a newly-selected Athletic Senate team behind him, Inani was confident that the Senate’s efforts to get people hyped for sports would pay off.

“Everyone [was] really excited and [there was] generally a lot of hype when we also passed to the lanyards for the first time, since that was [something] we didn’t really have last year and people got really excited for those.” said Inani.

The MVHS Student Athletic Senate was formed by Athletic Director Nick Bonacorsi in 2018 as a way to bring together athlete representatives from multiple sports. As a group, the Athletic Senate pushed for further student body participation in athletic events and games. Their main social media platform, the @mvathletics Instagram account, has become a centerpiece in bringing attention to many sports teams and individual athletes according to Inani. 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted athletics in multiple ways — social distancing restrictions and safety protocols reduced engagement with many sports, and students were uncertain about when sports would restart. During the 2021 season, only family members were allowed to attend games for outdoor sports, while indoor sports restricted attendance to immediate family members, some with a limit of two per athlete. 

Junior Nathan Liu, representing the Boys Baseball team on the Senate, believes the committee suffered from  disorganization because of the pandemic and was “just trying to get back together and start running again” afterwards.

The online presence of the Athletic Senate diminished as the group lacked structure during quarantine. Inani wants the group to move forward with combatting a lack of overall student body participation in athletic events from quarantine. 

“One thing that was really impacted [by] COVID-19 was that last year, everyone was really scared and we saw a huge drop in the attendance numbers in football games [and] that’s something we [want to focus] on this year,” said Inani.

In order to maximize the output of the Athletic Senate, the selection process was much more competitive than previous years, with members being selected based on their commitment.

“Last year, we had a lot of people and a lot of different opinions, so we didn’t get much done,” Liu said. “But this year, we had to fill out a form to apply and then they chose a select few, [who were assigned] into three different groups.We all do our own thing, but also work collectively together to find out ways to promote events, what to do during the games and what we can do off and on behind the scenes.”

The Athletic Senate decided to split up the responsibilities of its members to push for accountability and productivity, forming three sections within the Senate: the Event Planning branch, the Outreach branch and the Media team. Each focused on different aspects of the group’s overall mission — to increase student engagement in athletic events. 

Inani believes that due to the efforts of the Athletic Senate, sports are not only gaining recognition, but the interactions between sports have improved as well. He attributes this to the “diverse group of representatives” that the Senate has, as well as the fact that the Senate also made a greater effort this year to interact with coaches.

Furthermore, the Athletic Senate has branched out to take on programs with outside organizations. Inani and the Senate worked with Recycleballs to set up ways to recycle used tennis balls. Together, they managed to recycle over 600 balls in the past year alone.

As part of the Event Planning team, junior Ruhi Kotwal of the Girls Soccer team was in charge of promoting sports games by passing out doughnuts and lanyards. Kotwal says this year’s Athletic Senate has better set itself up to cooperate with the Leadership spirit commission. Kotwal adds that the Senate plans to unveil a new event to boost sports involvement, Sports Info Day, which will be similar to Club Info Day; the organization plans to host booths for each sport in the upcoming season, hosting Sports Info Days for each season. 

“We’re going to have small booths set up where [students] can come and talk to the captains about what the sport is,” Kotwal said. “[Sometimes], people don’t know when the season starts and they end up missing [out on a sport].”

According to Inani, the Senate’s efforts have been paying off — as a smaller unit, the committee is more productive and work is distributed evenly, leading to what he calls impressive results. 

“We definitely [have] great attendance this year, and our boosters program has been doing very well,” said Inani. “Given the positive results [so far], we have high hopes for the rest of the year.”