The master plan of Sedalia’s community college is full of ideas for improving the school over the next five years. It lists six different general priorities, each with a number of associated “strategies.” The most interesting strategy is under the “Increase net revenue” section: “Evaluate adding intercollegiate programs, e.g., athletic teams, livestock judging team, etc.”
Colleges all over the United States are experiencing a money crunch because state and local governments are cutting back on funding for higher education. Intercollegiate programs are a popular way to increase an institution’s general presence in various markets. When a team of Roadrunners go out and compete in any competition it’s a good advertisement for SFCC and the City of Sedalia.
Recently the school has hosted a series of forums to allow students and employees to discuss the addition of more intercollegiate programs. Listed among the possibilities in the Nov. 30 edition of the one-page publication that goes up in the bathrooms and hallways at SFCC, The Roadrunner Reader, is “men’s and women’s soccer, and men’s baseball and women’s softball.”
You probably know SFCC once had a great soccer program. Roadrunner soccer took home the National Junior College Athletic Association championship in 1998 and 1999. Just a few years later, the program was scrapped completely after various improprieties were made public, and both championships and wins from four seasons were forfeited.
Sedalia does have a soccer pipeline – the good people at the Paul Klover Soccer Association and Sedalia Parks and Recreation have helped to create a positive soccer environment for local kids over the last few decades. Sedalia is a football town and a fútbol town thanks to their efforts and the good soccer programs at both Sacred Heart and Smith-Cotton. We are raising soccer players and they do have to settle for playing college soccer in places other than Sedalia upon graduation. I have at least one friend who is a great soccer player who probably would have loved to play soccer for Sedalia but the program didn’t exist when he graduated high school.
Besides, everyone knows the youth of today love things that are both innovative and stupid! They could establish a team in an emerging college sport like quidditch! You might know it as the sport that student wizards play in the Harry Potter universe but it exists in real life, too. It’s basically like hand soccer with multiple tiny goals and you’ve got to keep a broom between your legs during play. The University of Texas has won the last three Quidditch World Cup championships, meaning that the quidditch program has been infinitely more successful than their football program for three solid seasons.
Maybe they should come up with a new sport so they can get a head start and be the undisputed masters of it by the time everyone else catches up. A Nerf gun shooting team would probably be pretty popular with today’s college students.
If SFCC and its namesake Fair came together they could probably create an excellent livestock judging program. (Of course livestock judging is a real and sanctioned team sport in college! As of this writing the University of Missouri is No. 11 in the 2015 Senior Collegiate Livestock Judging Power Rankings.)
But a new intercollegiate program might not be a good way to increase net revenue. Even in crazy popular college sports like football and soccer, it is easy for colleges to lose money on them if they aren’t at or at least near the very top of the rankings, or in a profitable conference.
Would you like to see a new sport or competition at SFCC?
Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.