(English text to follow)
By John Szalas, student writer and junior International Affairs major
In recent years the Japanese government has begun reforming its collegiate athletic institutes to create a single governing organization similar to the NCAA in the United States. Currently Japanese college level sports are treated more like clubs operated under federations of each sport and have no nationwide level of organization or support. Taking its own initiative for this, the University of Tsukuba, a school famous for producing many famous athletes and experts in various fields, is collaborating with Temple University’s Philadelphia Main Campus to learn what the America’s system is like and adapt practices which might best work in Japan. In the future, students from Tsukuba may have the opportunity to go to Temple’s Main Campus to see how the athletics program operates.
On December 12, the University of Tsukuba invited a former athlete and staff member of Temple’s athletic department to give a lecture in their credit-bearing lecture series. The lecture series is organized by Tsukuba’s Athletic Department and open to all students as an elective where they can hear from former athletes and various experts in the sports industry. Alyssa Drachslin is a Temple alumna who led Temple’s volleyball team during her time as a student. At Temple, she was named Female Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2016. After graduating she decided she wanted to improve the athletic department to make sure future student athletes can not only succeed in school and sports, but also in a career afterwards. Currently she works for Temple’s Athletic Department as a Coordinator for Leadership and Professional Development. Her lecture was about her athletic experience, the NCAA, and how Temple manages and supports its own student athletes.
University of Tsukuba Athletic Department’s Mr. Shinzo Yamada (left) and Temple University’s Alyssa Drachslin (right)
She started off her lecture explaining about the structure of the NCAA. It organizes, regulates, and supports various sports. She also discussed how the NCAA organizes collegiate sports programs into tiered divisions and how this supports students. Division 1 schools are larger, have bigger budgets, and offer more athletic scholarships. Temple University qualifies as a Division 1 university.
Drachslin went on to explain the lifestyle most college student athletes have, as well as some programs which support them. One such program is called Verified, which helps students focus on career goals as they juggle their athletic, academic and other commitments. A new program Drachslin has helped create is the Temple Flight Leadership Academy, which helps students hone teamwork, communication, and leadership skills they develop through sports, and then apply those to future careers. While sports are a high priority for student athletes, Temple makes sure they are prepared for the world after Temple.
Hopefully Drachslin’s lecture will inspire students to help create such programs as Temple has and envision their future career in various paths. Megumi Kameyama, a Tsukuba cheerleader and freshman in Library Sciences thought “it’s great for former athletes like Alyssa to work for Temple and support the organization that helped her succeed.”
Personally, I would say the lecture was successful since many students gave Drachslin a positive reception. Reforming the organization of collegiate athletics may lead to the further development of sports in Japan, and to even more success in the Olympics and other sporting events. The Olympic Games in summer 2020 in Tokyo may provide us a chance to see.
<Student writer> John Szalas is studying International Affairs at TUJ in order to gain a better understanding of the international world to make it a better place. He speaks English, Hungarian, and soon to be Japanese. John also makes a mean chicken and dumplings😉