Cerro Coso Community College has announced plans to cut the Women's Basketball Program from the fall 2013 lineup of sports and add a Women's Soccer Team.
"The program has a lengthy history of significant challenges in recruiting athletes and then retaining those athletes, particularly from season to season," said Vice President of Student Services Heather Ostash. Historically, the Women's Basketball Program at the College has had a low yield of local players.
Cerro Coso planned to cancel the program two years ago, but decided to give it another chance, with the expectation that the program become sustainable and yield better recruiting success and athlete retention, with an emphasis on the recruitment of local students. This year the program started with 11 players, two of whom were local athletes, and ended the season with only six players. "In the last 5 years, we have had a total of 5 local athletes on the Women's Basketball Team, 2 of those started mid-season this year after the team dropped down to 5 players. The three local players are sophomores and will not be returning in the fall," said Ostash.
The college was forced to forfeit one game and had to reschedule another because of too few athletes to play this season. "In this era of declining budgets and fiscal challenges, it is no longer feasible for the college to continue an expensive program that only serves 5 athletes and is in a constant struggle to maintain enough players to compete," she said.
The challenges to the program are not new nor are they unique to Cerro Coso. Women's basketball is notoriously challenging for recruiting statewide. "The fact that we have had hard-working and talented coaches dedicated to this program and have still been unable to establish a stable, sustainable program was further evidence that Women's Basketball is not the right sport for the college or our communities. It was a hard decision, but one that we realized we had to make," said Ostash.
"The discontinuance of our Women's Basketball Program will be in the best of interest of the college Athletics programs," said Interim Director of Athletics Kimberlee Kelly. "This was a difficult decision and is not something we took lightly. Many hours of debate and discussion took place to ensure we were making a decision that would be positive for the college and community."
The addition of a Women's Soccer Team is the result of an Annual Survey of Athletic Interests the college conducts in compliance with Title IX regulations. The number one sport supported by local athletes according to the survey was volleyball followed by soccer. The College added Women's Volleyball to the lineup of sports in the fall of 2012. "It was a great first season for our Women's Volleyball Team, which consisted 100% of local athletes, and we have similar hopes for a Women's Soccer Team," continued Ostash.
"We are thrilled to announce the addition of a women's soccer program to our fall lineup. This is an exciting time for us as CCCC has never hosted a soccer program and we look forward to the community's support for the new sport."
The cost to run a Women's Soccer Team at Cerro Coso is about the same as the Women's Basketball Team, but soccer will support a much larger team. "We already have a beautiful, under-utilized facility in place," said Ostash.
"We are extremely proud of the players who have competed as part of our Women's Basketball Program at Cerro Coso and of the coaches and staff who have been dedicated to the program over the years," she exclaimed.
Physical education and athletic programs are an integral part of the overall educational experience at Cerro Coso Community College. It takes a community effort with everyone working towards a common goal to start a new program in a tough economy. At a time when many two-year colleges throughout the nation are cutting sports programs, Cerro Coso is proactively evaluating all programs and services.
"We are committed to providing local athletes with educational opportunities that help them to succeed in sports and in life," concluded Ostash.
Women interested in playing intercollegiate soccer for Cerro Coso Community College or community members wishing to join the College Athletic Boosters Organization are encouraged to contact Kimberlee Kelly in the Athletic Department at 760-384-6353.
For further information, please contact Natalie Dorrell, Public Information (760) 384-6260