Bevill State Community College President Dr. Larry Ferguson announced today that athletics is coming back to the College.
“This decision comes after several months of careful internal and external study by the College leadership. We have listened to the feedback from our students, employees and community partners who have expressed the desire that we bring back athletics. This was not an easy decision. The impact to the college’s fiscal resources was a concern, but after careful consideration of the costs, the potential advantages to our students, and the perceived impacts athletics could have on the communities we serve, we feel the time is right to bring back athletics,” explained Dr. Ferguson.
All athletic programs at Bevill State closed at the conclusion of the 2010-2011 academic year. The primary reason for the closure was the rising costs associated with college athletics coupled with the loss of funding for Bevill State. Dr. Ferguson explained that even with the traditional high costs associated with community college sports, Bevill State has a practical plan to reinstate athletics.
“We have identified alternative funding to support a model that we think will allow us to have sports back on several of our campuses. We have been calling this model a ‘prototype’ and we will be continually assessing it to monitor the performance of athletics over the next two to three years in order to determine its long-term viability. College leaders and I will be closely studying the athletics program in the contexts of cost, impact to enrollment and community support. We want the program to be successful and we are optimistic that our students, stakeholders, and communities will be equally dedicated in its success.”
According to Dr. Ferguson, Senator Greg Reed was instrumental in securing funding for the return of athletics to Bevill State.
“I am glad a lot of hard work has paid off and sports are coming back to Bevill State! Securing additional funds to re-start the athletics program for BSCC has been a priority project for me over the last several years,” said Senator Reed. “In so many ways, Bevill State is the heartbeat of our community. Athletics help attract more students and higher student enrollment is good for the college and our entire area. I look forward to attending the first BSCC sports event!”
According to Ferguson, the prototype model will allow for men’s baseball at the Fayette Campus, men’s basketball at the Jasper Campus and women’s softball on the Sumiton Campus. “The decision to have these sports at these locations is key to making this prototype work. We would love to be able to have multiple athletic teams on all of our campuses, but that is not possible at this time. If we are able to do what we think this model will allow us to do; receive continued funding; and achieve a high level of support from our communities, it is possible that we could expand the number and locations of our athletics,” said Dr. Ferguson.
Specific details in regards to the timeline for each program are currently under development. The tentative goal is for the majority of programs to start recruiting in the Fall of 2016 to begin play in the Fall of 2017.