OPINION: TMCC Sports Complex a Move in The Right Direction

By Richard Jay

The students of Truckee Meadows Community College have voted twice to increase fees for a new sports complex on campus.

The first vote approved a $10 increase, the second vote a $5 increase with $4.50 to build the facility and $0.50 to maintain the facility.  I have met with the TMCC administration, and we found areas to further reduce costs.

Studies show students perform better when there is an athletic facility on campus.  Purdue University study cites “Students who exercise at least once a week were more likely to earn a higher grade point average than students who didn’t exercise at all.”

Another study from the Purdue University of Recreational Sports; “Students who are motivated by fitness and wellness tend to have better time management skills and research shows that being fit is good for the mind”.

Community colleges enroll 11-12 million students annually, of which over 50,000 participate in intercollegiate athletics. Over 50% of colleges have intercollegiate sports. Community colleges are moving toward greater participation in athletics, by starting new programs or expanding existing programs.

The programs vary, both in the type and number of sports available. After discussing the regulation of community college athletics and providing some examples of athletic programs, a study from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) report examined the case for athletics in the college settings.

Conclusion: “The trend in community college athletics is moving toward more, rather that less, intercollegiate athletics. Intercollegiate competition encourages personal development and is an integral part of a student’s overall educational experience. Sports programs may also attract more students to a community college and enhance pride in the college both on campus and within the community.”

ACE High School Grad Wins Gold at SkillsUSA Competition

It seems inevitable that the educational value of athletics in higher education may continue to generate controversy with the age old debate between ACADEMICS and ATHLETICS.  Why not offer both of these to our students giving them a more enhanced and balanced education.

In an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education (To Increase Enrollment, Community Colleges Add More Sports) Guilford Technical Community College, President Donald Cameron sees their sports program as a benefit for the school as a whole, saying “Athletics is just one more way of offering extracurricular opportunities that make a whole student.”

He contends that the addition of sports teams has “really turned our student morale around. Our bookstore manager will tell you that he cannot keep our sports paraphernalia in stock.”

Finally, student athletes opt to play at other community colleges as we have no programs at TMCC or in Northern Nevada.  Several colleges offer sports; Feather River College, Western Nevada CC , and Lake Tahoe CC.  Lacrosse/field hockey is a growing in the U.S.; many colleges are now offering lacrosse/field hockey programs.

This facility can be used by outside organization, the access fee will be used to offset the overall maintenance costs.  Those outside organizations could include the US Youth Olympic Development Program, NYSA State Cup qualifying games, Reno 1868FC and many more.

Richard L. Jay

  • Past President Great Basin Youth Soccer League
  • Commissioner –Nevada Youth Soccer Association
  • Class of 84 University of Nevada-Economics, 82 AA TMCC






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1 Comment

  1. 1. The “votes” by the students were not a comprehensive survey, so those inclined to want the sports complex were more likely to respond. So the implication that all students have been heard on this issue of added fees for a sports complex is invalid.

    2. “Students who exercise at least once a week were more likely to earn a higher grade point average than students who didn’t exercise at all.” Correlation does not mean causation. The fact that one exercises does not make one more successful. There are myriad possibilities that contribute to success.

    3. TMCC uses a lot of really crappy Pearson Publishing’s “canned curricula, the labs are poorly equipped, and they have difficulty retaining quality teachers.

    I strongly support the concept of a strong mind in a strong body, so all of our citizens should be encouraged to exercise and play sports throughout their lives. It seems like lobbyists are gaming the system here, however and that TMCC is getting its priorities wrong. Ever increasing costs must stop. TMCC must not keep adding a few dollars here and there every year. These community colleges were built to provide low-cost access to education and skills training for our citizens and to respond to the changing training needs of our local business community. Ask the students at TMCC’s machine shop classes if they have an adequate array of metals with which to train? Ask students in the Microbiology labs about equipment and lab materials? Ask our citizens if the college provides low cost access to education and training, in areas that will lead to real access better jobs?

    Western Nevada just killed its only two varsity sports (baseball and softball) last year because they couldn’t afford the costs (and they already had the field). The cause is Title IX. While there was strong support for baseball, nobody (not even parents of the softball players attended the softball games). Yet, due to Title IX, WNC had to provide a womens team that nobody supported, so that they could have the baseball team, that was wildly popular.

    While having a field at TMCC would be a nice to have, it would be more in line with the stated mission of TMCC to improve the quality of instruction, classroom and lab equipment and to expand low cost four year degrees such as ABET accredited Engineering Technology degrees in Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical engineering and Construction Management.

    Sports fields are fun but they are a low return on investment for the tax-paying citizens and provide no value-added for the degrees earned by the students. Let’s say that you are hiring a new lab technician. One fellow tells you that he learned to operate a new scanning electron microscope at his college. The other fellow, from TMCC, tells you that he played soccer on the new multi-sport field, but used old, out-dated microscopes in his labs.

    This issue is just a matter of administrators getting their priorities straight. The NSHE Board should fire anyone who builds a sports field while the quality of labs, shops and QUALITY teacher retention remains so poor.

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