Future uncertain for athletics


            Colleges all over the state, including Santa Monica College, are being stifled by enormous budget cuts.  Institutions are losing programs, classes, and even whole semesters in order to overcome this loss of money.  But what SMC and many other colleges face is the loss of athletic programs.

            It is too early to tell what programs could be suspended, but it has become painfully obvious that SMC will eventually have to lose some.  It is hard to imagine SMC, a school with such proud sports tradition, without sports.

            Nobody can argue that colleges are here to provide the best education they can to students.  With that being said, many schools wouldn't exist today without athletics.  One benefits from the other, like a food chain, and if something gets taken out it effects the whole system.  

            Joe Cascio, Project Manager of Athletics at SMC, said, "a successful athletic program is the foundation upon which our campus community is built."

            Jay Perez, a fellow student here at SMC felt if athletic programs go, then we wouldn't be investing in students' futures anymore.  He believes sports programs help students excel into other things.

            Sports are responsible for opening many doors to students, especially at colleges.  SMC for example, gives students a chance to go to school, build their academic resume and play sports, thus increasing their chance of transferring to a four-year university and achieving a dream of competing at one of the highest athletic levels in the world. 

            Some of the worlds most elite and successful athletes have come through SMC on their road to the next level. Athletes like NFL stars Chad Ochocinco, Isaac Bruce, and Steve Smith, as well as Olympic gold medalists Tommie Smith and Lenny Krayzelburg all attended SMC before moving on to the professional level.

            It would undeniably hurt SMC if they lost athletic programs because students would have to move to different schools. 

            Think about all the opportunities that would disappear and possibilities students could miss out on.  Sports programs are for athletes who are trying to carry their skills to the next level, but also for the one who plays merely for the pure enjoyment of it all.

            Besides the athletic and academic relations, sports can bring students together.  "Our sports teams reach across cultural, socio-economic and political lines to unite students in ways that no other campus groups can," said Cascio.

            Maybe petition funding from the A.S. for certain programs or holding an extra annual car wash, anything to keep the programs.  This might even be more important than losing the winter semester because of how impactful it will be on certain students.  If you haven't guessed already, when athletes start to disappear so does part of the college.

            SMC has already been approved to build a new physical education, athletics, and dance building.  Construction should begin by December 2011 and be finished by June 2013.           

            Joe Cascio, Project Manager of Athletics said, "we are dealing with a very dilapidated building that students simply refuse to use." Yet kinesiology and physical education might also see programs suspended, so who would be left to use the new facilities? It would be such a waste to build a brand new beautiful facility and not have enough students to enjoy the amenities.

            However, Cascio said, "the building will outlive this budget crunch and be the crown jewel in our Kinesiology and Athletic departments for years to come."