By Chris Wright, The News On 6
TAHLEQUAH, OK -- Northeastern State University in Tahlequah is creating a home away from home for its football players. In an effort to ease the transition from high school to college, incoming freshmen have been paired with local host families.
Freshmen all over the country are plagued by the same problems: homesickness and difficulty adjusting to a new environment. NSU believes the new RiverHawk Host Family Program will help them overcome these issues, instead of succumbing to them.
While the music game Rock Band is a staple of dorm life, quarterback Cale Fulps plays the game at Chris and Heather Adney's home.
The freshman is taking part in the school's new host family program. When he's not busy with football or class, the Broken Arrow native stops by for video games, dinner, or just to hang out.
"You've got this family that you're paired with, that can give you some stability, and a firm ground and someone to talk to," said Cale Fulps.
"He has someone he can turn to ask questions to about campus life if he has issues on campus, if he has problems," said Chris Adney, a member of Cale Fulps' host family.
Adjusting to life away from home can be tough for all freshmen, but football players are also immediately thrown into intense two-a-day practices.
"Every freshman football player goes through a point where they want to quit," said NSU head football coach Kenny Evans.
But Coach Evans says this year is different. Since players were paired with host families, not a single freshman has left.
"It's going to improve our graduation rate, going to keep people in school and it's going to eventually help us be better on the field," said Coach Evans.
Players say they're committed to that goal and believe avoiding the pitfalls that often accompany freshman year will help them reach it.
"Some people said you're really going to get homesick. I really haven't felt it," said Beau Beane, an NSU freshman.
Coach Evans believes the program will also help with recruiting. He says he'll stress to parents of potential players that NSU is committed to looking out for their kids.