NWACC Considers Sanctioned Sports

Bentonville -- Northwest Arkansas Community College's Committee Studying Sanctioned Sports met for the first time Wednesday.

The committee is studying the feasibility of creating Division III men's baseball and women's softball teams.

"When you think of the University of Arkansas... you think about the Razorbacks," says Chairman Todd Schwartz. "When you think of NWACC, you don't think of the Eagles."

The group wants to run a three year test program, and members laid out the questions which must be answered before moving forward. Schwartz believes a team would increase enrollment by attracting student athletes.

"We're looking to create win win solutions here," Schwartz says. "We could potentially have a $258,000 increase per year, not per semester, per year just on tuition and fees from the athletes."

Committee member Chuck Huebner says sanctioned sports would high school players an added incentive to continue their education.

"If we can get students to come here, who then become successes because they went to college, whereas they might not have otherwise, I think that's a good thing," Huebner says. "I just would love to see this college thrive even more than it has."

Schwartz says a three year test program would be funded by community donations, but members also need to gauge student interest.

"If funds cannot be committed within a reasonable time frame, this committee will report to the board that sanctioned sports does not have the necessary support from the community," he says. "If we have the funds but we don't have any students that want to participate, it's a moot point."

Committee members also need a field to practice and play games.

"Once those questions are answered, we'll make a recommendation to the board of trustees," Schwartz says.

The committee hopes to have a recommendation for the board in the next three to four months, and if sanctioned sports are approved, the Eagles could be playing Division III ball within the next two years.

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