By Robbie Fenbers, West Staff Reporter
It’s that time of the year again. The scoreboard is lit up, the stands are filled and the leaves are changing. But surely this isn’t football were talking about, not at Tri-C at least.
In the schools 47 years of athletics, it has never been able to call a football program one of its own. ‘’The chances of there being a football program are very slim”, says Mark Rodriguez, who is the Athletic Director at Tri-C. The main reason is funding and expenses, everything from equipment to travel and all the practices in between. “Football is an expensive sport”, says Rodriguez. With the economy the way it is, the school doesn’t have the money to put into a program. Even if it did, there would be no one to compete against. There are no junior colleges around the region that even have a football program. That is somewhat shocking as Ohio breeds football players like cattle on a farm.
Another reason there has not been a football team, is Tri-C must follow in accordance with Title 9, keeping an equal amount of opportunities for men and women in collegiate athletics. Tri-C has 65% of its population as female. It also offers the highest participation in women’s sports in junior colleges. The only sport the school doesn’t offer is Women’s soccer. In order to make room for a football team, Tri-C would have to cut one if not more of its women’s sports. That would only bring setbacks in Tri-C’s compliance with Title 9.
But what if they found a way to bring a football program to Tri-C? Rodriguez believes it would not only liven up campus, but bring more men into the college and give them more opportunities to succeed. One student at Tri-c, Amit is an admitted sportsaholic and believes that bringing a football program will help bring more students and athletes to Tri-C. “I think it would bring some notoriety to the school”, he says. But other schools would have to follow suit and that is why the thought of heading out of class and across campus to the Tri-C Challenger season opener in Football sounds exciting, but may only be wishful thinking for now.
Out of a total of over 500 Junior Colleges, only 68 offer a football program. These kinds of numbers are not helping the cause. So for now, students that want to see football will have to settle for a local high school game or watch weekend games huddled up in front of the TV. As for Tri-c football, students are hearing those familiar words around Cleveland sports, “maybe next year”.