The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 23, 2013

Destroying athletes’ dreams at DACC


Commercial-News

TOLONO — Last week, at Danville Area Community College, a bomb was dropped on the young men and women of the soccer, volleyball and golf teams.

The coaches of these teams were notified last week that the board of trustees would be meeting today to vote to potentially suspend these sports programs. The reasons given were financial, including the new insurance laws.

As an educator, I understand the financial difficulties that are facing education. What I take issue with is the timing and withholding of information. I am wondering if coaches were notified a week prior to the meeting so that it would prevent to community and parents from attending the meeting to express their concerns.

I am also outraged that we are finding out about this near the end of April, when students have already registered for courses for the fall semester.

Does the administration think student athletes will remain? Did they wait this late intentionally so that students would not have other options? I find the manner in which this is occurring appalling!

By waiting this late in the game, the administration has made it virtually impossible for these athletes to find a place to continue their sport. Families are now left to hurry up and find a college for their students to transfer to, and the awful task of picking up the pieces of young athletes that may find their dreams of continuing their sport, shattered.

We have been faced with difficult financial times for quite a while now. If DACC needed to eliminate programs, the time to do so was unquestionably earlier than three weeks before the end of the term. I can only speak in terms of soccer recruiting, and right now, colleges are finished or near finishing their recruiting. Positions have been filled, and the DACC athletes may find their dreams of playing their sport in college over.

If the board does indeed vote to eliminate these sports, they owe it to the families and athletes to do so at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. To do so now is dishonorable.

Financial times are difficult for all. Families that have planned for their sons and daughters to attend DACC have been budgeting for this.

The administrators and board also need to consider they will lose many athletes if they eliminate these sports. Some chose DACC because of the opportunity to follow their dreams. Faced now with the prospect of moving on to a private college to continue soccer or not playing at all leaves parents and athletes with shattered dreams!

Beth Winn, mother of a DACC athlete, resides in Tolono.