The decision to terminate the legendary football program at Fort Scott Community College was made with the best interest of student-athletes, coaches, FSCC, and Bourbon county taxpayers.
It was a very difficult decision, as it is hard to place a dollar amount on the value our football athletes have provided to our college and community.
Many of our football students bring needed diversity and perspective to our campus and community.
Our football students have provided many hours of community service, as evidenced by the recent downtown clean-up.
Although many things have changed in the last several years regarding the football program, the opportunity we provided to young men who wanted to advance their college education by means of a football scholarship was not one of the changes.
Although the football program has provided invaluable opportunities for FSCC and football athletes, we had to evaluate the financial impact the program has on the college, as well as the sustainability of providing football students with the best opportunity to play on a competitive team.
Below is a summary of information that was critical in the decision made by the FSCC Board of Trustees, and supported by myself, to close the program.
- At this time the cost vs revenue analysis of the football program indicates the football program is losing approximately $400,000 annually.
- The Jayhawk conference changed the rules in 2017 from allowing D1 community colleges sports programs to provide student-athletes with books and tuition scholarships only – to allowing scholarships for books, tuition, fees, room, board, and $500 in school supplies. The previous cap on the number of out-of-state players for football was removed allowing for up to 85 out-of-state players certified. Two years ago the number of out-of-state football players was changed again and now 55 out-of-state players can be certified. There are no other options to compete in the Jayhawk Conference for football, baseball, golf and track other than D1. The conference also changed the rules for D2 sports scholarships in 2017 from books and tuition only – to books, tuition, and fees only. At FSCC we are designated D2 in women’s and men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, women’s softball.
- Gender equity and equity for all athletes, regardless of the sport played, is required by the Federal Government. We must spend approximately the same dollar amount per student-athlete which is very difficult when D1 and D2 sports have different rules for scholarships.
- The bottom line is, any additional dollars we would add to the football program in an attempt to make them more competitive, we must also add to all our sports programs to meet equity in athletics requirements.
- The 2021 FSCC football roster had 16 Kansas players, 1 player from Bourbon County who quit the program in September. There are 19 community colleges in Kansas of which 8 have a football program. Each school can certify 85 football players for a total of 680 players (this does not include red-shirts or medical red-shirts). The 8 football programs had 163 Kansas players listed for the 2021 season. Local and Kansas students are not as numerous on football rosters as they were before the rule change.
- In 2014/2015 the FSCC football program had a deficit of more than $400,000 in their foundation activities account. It was determined in 2015 for every student credit hour generated, $1 in student fees would be used to reimburse FSCC Endowment for the deficit. Student fees have refunded FSCC Endowment approximately $35,000 to $40,000 each year since then. We currently have approximately $186,000 left of the original $400,000 deficit.
- The cruel, false, and inaccurate accusations that have been shared on many social media platforms, by mostly anonymous individuals and groups, regarding the football program has severely damaged our reputation and negatively affected our ability to move forward with the recruitment of student-athletes.
- FSCC has fewer football coaches than any other school in the Jayhawk Conference. For example at the last FSCC game vs Independence Community College, we had 6 coaches on the sidelines and ICC had 14 (some of which are volunteers as they currently list 9 on their website). Butler has 11 football coaches listed, Coffeyville -8, Dodge – 7, Garden – 8, Highland – 12, Hutchinson – 10, Independence – 8, and FSCC – 6. Fewer coaches means fewer people recruiting students and fewer experts working with individual players on key skills. It also means we would need to spend more money and hire additional coaches to be at a similar level as the other programs in the Conference.
If the money we lose on the football program each year was the only consideration in determining whether to continue the football program at FSCC, we would not have made the tough decision to terminate the program. However, the current losses are only a part of the financial picture in determining the sustainability of a competitive football program at FSCC. When putting together the financial figures for the Board I looked at our current budget, revenue, expenses, and economic impact of the football program. Previous to hiring the current coaching staff I consulted with a past Jayhawk Conference football coach to see what he believed a minimum football budget would be to allow us to be competitive in the conference. He provided me with a detailed breakdown of what he believed we would need to spend based on his past coaching experience in the Jayhawk Conference, and it was more than twice our football budget at the time, which was $273,000. That did not include the fact if we increased the football budget, we would have to do the same for all of our other sports programs. Our FY 2021 unaudited football budget is $365,000, which does not include all football program expenses.
I believe when considering all the financial needs to fund a competitive football program it would take at least an additional one million annually, which would be an additional 10 mils the Bourbon County taxpayers would have to bear. The FSCC Board of Trustees, and myself as president, do not believe continuing the football program would uphold the fiduciary responsibility placed in us by taxpayers. We will continue to provide multiple opportunities for students allowing them to earn a scholarship to advance their educational goals by participating in activities and athletics that allow them to learn and have positive, transformational experiences while at FSCC.