Spring collegiate athletes face tough choice on returning

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MSU Bears Football

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The amount of time each athlete spends playing their sport in college varies. Still, Bears softball star Darian Frost is getting more time than most.

“The opportunity to spend more time with my teammates and these coaches. I mean not everyone can say they spent six years in college, right?”

Frost, a fifth year senior, had planned on sticking around as a graduate assistant in 2021 as she completed her Masters’ degree. Now with the NCAA giving extra eligibility for spring sport athletes, she will be back on the diamond.

“This situation kind of worked out really, really well for me and I’m excited for how it did turn out, but either way I was going to be good with my time as a Missouri State softball player.”

To most it might seem like a no-brainer decision to stay, but it’s not that easy. Schools have to find the best way to continue to divvy up scholarships, while some athletes already have post-graduation plans.

“I think some big life decisions have to be made. We are at a point in our lives where we have to take that hard look in the mirror and decide what path you are on, where you are going to go and does it fit perfectly. It’s a hard choice, but I think it’s personal in everybody’s journey.”

After redshirting in 2019, and playing less than 40 percent of the schedule in 2020, which includes no home games, Frost says she knows the spring of 2021will be the end of the ride.

“I think it’s going to be awesome. Every year it gets closer and then it gets extended that I get another opportunity. I feel like next year is going to have a lot of finality to it and I’m excited. After six years I can definitely say I will be done playing softball.”

The big winners might be the entire Frost family. Darian’s little brother DJ gets to keep his sister in town, and the parents get another full year of college sports.

“Yeah, I actually live with my brother. He is my roommate, so he is excited that my dog is staying in town. They are buddies so he is definitely excited. My dad is also, like, the biggest softball fan. He’ll be excited.”

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