The Amarillo College board of regents recent vote to reinstate intercollegiate athletics programs represents a positive step for the college that all students, staff, and community members should support. This decision is rooted in the desire to attract local students who may not otherwise choose AC, and to offer a more traditional school experience that includes a competitive sports component that fosters a sense of community and excitement.
Naysayers, although few, bring questions about budgets and attracting quality athletes. Opponents of the plan have stated that a barely funded athletic program will not foster-improvement or growth in the programs over time. These concerns are unfounded.
The particular sports the regents have adopted happen to be chosen due to their affordability and success in the local high school arena, thereby promoting high interest by quality athletes looking for more college options and easing doubt on funding capabilities. AC wants a successful athletics program after all. AC stands to gain a surge of enthusiasm and school spirit from the student body, which will be highly beneficial. As transfer students can attest, colleges with sports programs see more engagement from students and actively foster more of a sense of belonging and fellowship with exciting causes to rally behind and feel a part of, a feeling that can be difficult to create currently at AC.
AC is a great school that has helped students from all walks of life succeed, yet with an untraditional environment, it can sometimes feel like a “business” only kind of environment. Many students come to class, talk to no one, then leave campus. For those who crave a more engaging and fulfilling college experience, bringing back sports may be part of the answer.
Sports programs offer an option for athletes, they offer a sense of community for students and alumni, and, perhaps most importantly, they offer a new way to involve the greater Amarillo area in promoting the college and embracing higher education.
We all need to feel included. We all need something that encourages us to be a part of something bigger. We all need someone to cheer for. In order for AC’s upcoming sports programs to succeed, we must choose to cheer them on. That is sports. That is college. That is us.