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ERIC Number: EJ771058
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jul-6
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
To Increase Enrollment, Community Colleges Add More Sports
Ashburn, Elyse
Chronicle of Higher Education, v53 n44 pA31 Jul 2007
Since 2003, more than 40 athletics programs have joined the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) ranks. Membership now represents about 500 colleges, and Wayne Baker, the group's executive director, expects to keep adding colleges. Membership in the association began declining slightly in the early 1990s, as private two-year colleges, many of which were struggling financially, cut their athletics programs or closed altogether. The recent growth in numbers is being fueled mostly by public colleges, some hoping to attract more students and others trying to satisfy a growing number of 18- to 24-year-olds who are demanding a traditional college experience, complete with athletics. Ashburn touches on key issues to be considered before adding varsity sports, including: (1) Paying for the programs; (2) Athletic scholarships; and (3) Reasons for competition. "If it's your goal to build a powerhouse and have a national championship, then you're going to have to recruit all over the country," says Robert C. Keys, president of Rockingham Community College, in Wentworth, N.C. "But that exceeds what is typically the community-college mission, which is that local kids have an opportunity to attend and play sports in their own backyard." Officials at Iowa Central Community College are using sports to attract local students, but are also interested in recruiting from out of state. "It's about enrollment," says Dee A. Brown, head coach of the men's and women's cross-country and track teams. A winning program has helped recruiting. That's important, Mr. Brown says, because he isn't just looking for bodies. "I'm trying to improve the quality of the programs," he says. "We're getting better kids. They're successful. They're working hard and doing well in school." Legislation passed by the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Board of Directors in April 2007 may send more top-notch athletes to community colleges in coming years. The rule, which was designed to crack down on fraudulent preparatory schools, says students can count only one core course they take after graduating from high school toward the academic requirements they need to play college sports. Some college-sports officials think the change, which takes effect August 1, could lead more high-school athletes with poor academic records to attend two-year colleges instead of preparatory schools. If those athletes choose community colleges, they will find many institutions vying for their attention.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iowa