An Inside Look at NYU’s Varsity Performance Center

Julia Saliba

Tyler Crews, Opinion Editor

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  • A look inside Palladium’s exclusive gym for NYU athletes.

  • A look inside the Varsity Performance Center — Palladium’s exclusive gym for NYU athletes. (Photo by Julia Saliba)

  • A look inside Palladium’s exclusive gym for NYU athletes.

  • A look inside Palladium’s exclusive gym for NYU athletes.

  • A look inside Palladium’s exclusive gym for NYU athletes.

  • A look inside Palladium’s exclusive gym for NYU athletes.

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It is 11 a.m. on a Friday, and while many students are either asleep or in class, a group of NYU students are hard at work. You won’t find these students in coffee shops or study rooms, nor will you find them at 404 Fitness Center or on the treadmills at Palladium. They are tucked away, hidden — somewhat metaphorically — within NYU’s vast facilities, at the secret gym for student athletes.

You have probably walked past the entrance of the center for athletes on the lower level of Palladium without batting an eye. Marked as an emergency exit, the door blends into the background. However, behind the door you find an equipment room, training room and strength and conditioning center –– a hub for NYU student athletes.

Current and former NYU Varsity athletes have team lifts at the Varsity Performance Center three days a week out of season, and two days a week in season. Then, many athletes put in extra hours, either in the weight room during open hours or in the training room working on injury recovery.

Others go even further in their commitment to the space and athletic community, working as student assistants.

There are currently five student strength and conditioning assistants and seven student athletic training assistants. CAS senior and former NYU athlete Ben Rubin uses his job as a way to remain within the NYU athletic community.

“I came in to wrestle and was on the wrestling team for two years, but because of some shoulder pain and shoulder surgeries, I had to stop wrestling, and I started working here to stay involved in athletics,” Rubin said.

Tandon sophomore and soccer player Callie Delaney works one room down the hall in the athletic training room where she helps the trainers treat athletes with injuries.

“I like [working in the training room] because it’s a good way to meet other athletes … there’s not a super strong athlete community [at NYU],” Delaney said.

While Delaney and Rubin work in NYU Athletics in order to become more involved within the NYU athletic community, SPS graduate student Mitchell Bennett works in the weight room to gain professional experience for future work in athletics.

“I personally will be going into strength and conditioning,” Bennett said. “We’re all varsity athletes or have been varsity athletes at some point in our careers, so we enjoy being in the weight room and we enjoy working out and we embrace a fitness lifestyle.”

Gallatin junior and softball player Cassi Parulis said the community of current and former athletes pushes each other to work harder and supports one another, creating an ideal environment for workouts.

“The environment in the VPC is always really positive and upbeat, so I think it makes everyone work harder, and having your teammates there is really encouraging,” Parulis said. “It’s a great environment to be with others.”

Delaney added, “I came in never having lifted, and now I love it. It’s actually really fun.”

For all of the work that these athletes and student assistants put in, they note that the NYU community rarely gives them any recognition.

“The recognition that [the athletes] receive is not nearly what they deserve,” Rubin said. “Doing a varsity sport here is almost like having a full-time job. Their class schedules and homework schedules are so strict –– they do everything that all the other students do with a 40-hour a week plus time commitment outside of that.”

While the work that these athletes put in behind the scenes may be hidden from our view, we can see the results of their labor on the field, in the pool, on the court and at the track.

Find the NYU athletics calendar here.

Read more from Washington Square News’ Fitness Feature here. Email Tyler Crews at [email protected].