DAWGS HEAD SOUTH: Eyes on the prize

Graduating seniors heading to Texas for the championship game don’t mind missing commencement

Although some Ferris seniors have to miss the graduation ceremony to be at the championship game on Saturday, their attention remains focused on the game.

The Ferris commencement ceremony for December 2018 is on Saturday, Dec. 15, which conflicts with the Division II National Championship game. Ferris sports marketing senior Syerra Wilcox, who works for the football team, said she had known about five months ago that graduation and the National Championship would be on the same day.

“I have been working for Ferris State Football for almost four years, so there was no ‘decision’ that had to be made.” Wilcox said. “If the championship game is the same day as graduation, then the decision was made for me. I knew instantly that if I didn’t attend this game that I would regret it for the rest of my life.”

Ferris senior quarterback Bret Mooney said that as an athlete, he’s accustomed to having to make these decisions. According to Mooney, every day, student-athletes have to make sacrifices that other students don’t have to.

“We’re used to it. The number one thing we sacrifice is our time. As athletes, we don’t have our weekends to do whatever we want, and we have responsibilities every day of the week on top of school,” Mooney said. “I believe there’s an option to come back in the summer to walk, but I’m not doing it.”

As for having to miss a milestone moment like graduation, the seniors remain unbothered. According to Mooney, players are embracing the experience and their coaches are just excited to be in the national championship.

“The players and coaches put so much time into achieving something like this. Many of the players have been here since June and the only reason for that was to reach the position we are in right now. Nothing else matters,” Mooney said.  “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal some players don’t get to walk, and the university probably doesn’t care either.”

Wilcox said that the championship is just as important to the football staff.

“I honestly think that this championship means just as much to us as it does to the players. We are a part of this family and if we really wanted to be at graduation instead of this game, then we would be,” Wilcox said. “Being a part of the Ferris State football staff, in which it’s the first time reaching the national championship, is honestly such an amazing feeling. I would never trade this experience for the world.”

For more coverage of the NCAA Division II National Championship, click here.