Untapped potential

Why an outdoor athletic complex and additional sporting programs should be considered

By Nick Misiak, Sports Editor

By Nick Misiak, Sports Editor

With all of the improvements and expansion of campus over the past decade, Schoolcraft College has been able to improve its facilities and has continued to elevate its impressive academic programs that have benefitted both its image and enrollment. The addition of and an athletic complex and the expansion of the athletic programs would be another fine addition to the campus, and could be another tool to recruit possible students.

The athletic fields should include a turf soccer field that would be easier to maintain than the run down grass field that the team currently uses and would allow for better drainage after rain. A new soccer field would better suit the highly successful Schoolcraft Soccer Program that has been one of the most successful programs in its conference.

The space that would be needed to build such a complex is available, as college has a bare grass field that lies between the north parking lot and I-275/I-96 that could easily fit a multisport athletic complex

The money that would be needed to create such a program is a hurdle the college would have to clear.

Schoolcraft has a history of utilizing its monetary assets to benefit its facilities and students. The college has spent millions dollars purchasing and refurnishing the Jeffress Center, building the BioTech Center and constructing the VisTaTech center. Making another large investment in a facility that would only improve the college’s image and increase enrollment would be extremely beneficial in the near and far future. Federal grants, donations and sponsorships would help bring the cost of the project down as well.

This would also be an incentive for high school student athletes to come to Schoolcraft, considering the various sports programs in close vicinity to the college.

Two additional sports that would benefit from this expansion would be the addition of both a baseball and softball program. With over 75 high school baseball and softball programs within a 50-mile radius of campus, only one community college, Henry Ford, has a baseball and softball program. Schoolcraft houses five scholarship and five non-scholarship sports, but fails to field a baseball or softball team.

Fourteen out of the 19 community colleges that comprise the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) have baseball programs and 16 of them have softball programs.

Fields can be built in the athletic complex and would be able to accommodate not only Schoolcraft teams, but can be rented out to various local youth teams as well.

To establish a baseball and softball program, funding must be available to pay for coaches, indoor batting cages, training equipment, uniforms, umpires and scholarships for players. These costs would easily be covered by the increase of enrollment from potential baseball and softball players and the attraction of a new state-of-the-art athletic facility.

There would be no problem with filling the teams’ rosters, as yielding two new teams of 18 athletes would be easy with the incentive of a new outdoor facility that would accommodate Schoolcraft athletic teams.

The money is there, student athletes are there and the MCCAA has a strong baseball and softball association that Schoolcraft could easily join. The scenario is perfect for Schoolcraft to invest some thought into building a premiere athletic complex and to yield baseball and softball teams.