James Nicholas has at least three sports he loves: football, hockey and golf. His allegiance to each never wavered, not through the sore days, the tired days or the long car rides common for anyone trying to cram two or three seasons into one.
Not surprisingly, when it came time for the Scarsdale star to make a difficult college decision, his desire to play more than one sport was almost more important than the sports themselves. Nicholas, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior, said Monday he committed to play both football and golf at Yale.
“I knew I wanted to be at Yale,” he said. “I knew the only way I could do that was to play football and golf, so I really chose the school first and the sports after.”
Nicholas considered football and golf the only feasible pairing. He had Division I interest for all three sports, but hockey season starts during football and continues into the spring, which would prevent him from playing anything else.
Nicholas made his decision on the heels of a visit to the New Haven, Connecticut, campus last weekend.
“The football coach gave me an offer and I thought, ‘OK, this is what I want to do,’ ” he said.
Yale had the best golf team in the Ivy League last spring and finished second to Harvard’s football team for the Ivy title this fall.
Nicholas had his most widespread interest for golf. That included Big 10 and ACC schools. He had planned a visit to Richmond but changed his mind after his visit to Yale.
“I was trying to use sports to get into the best school possible,” he said. “Obviously, the Ivys were most of my top choices.”
Nicholas starred as a wide receiver, running back, defensive back and kick returner the last two seasons for Scarsdale. He is also one of the area’s top-ranked amateur golfers. Nicholas finished last hockey season as the leading scorer in the state with 49 goals and 51 assists. He led the Raiders to a Section 1 title and was The Journal News’ Westchester/Putnam player of the year.
He currently has 19 goals and 18 assists for Scarsdale, which is 9-0.