Now is the time for CRC football

Zach Hannigan, Staff Writer

The band, the atmosphere, the tailgating, all things that are in Cosumnes River College’s reach, but sadly aren’t a reality.

With the recent renovation of CRC’s stadium, complete with turf, additional seating and of course decked out in the blue and orange of CRC, questions have surfaced about the use of it.

While Valley High School is using it for their home football games, why isn’t CRC doing the same?

For a school that preaches community, one would think that a football team that the students and citizens of Elk Grove could be proud of would be a staple.

Does the year 1978 ring a bell? Probably not. But that was the last year that CRC had a football team. Yes, CRC actually had a football team.

So what happened?

A lack of interest in the players and a poor turnout was the downfall of the Chiefs–CRC’s old mascot, athletic director Liz Belyea said.

But lets face it, Elk Grove was hardly a speck on the map in 1978. Flash forward and the population has swelled to over 155,000. CRC also serves over 15,000 students, plenty enough to chalk up a 53-man roster.

There is also a rumor of an injury that put CRC’s program to rest.

“Arthur Ayers, 20, made a tackle on September 18, 1976, which resulted in a broken neck and permanent spinal cord injury,” according to a 1977 article by Judy Rinehimer, a former public information officer.

Safety has also improved over the years with newer, safer equipment being introduced to the game.

Furthermore, area high schools have risen to have some of the best football programs in California, with Elk Grove and Franklin High Schools each ranking in the top 100.

With a top 100 team comes good players. What better place for them to play than at CRC?

That on top of the chance that CRC could be represented in the National Football League is incentive enough.

Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers attended Butte College in Chico and admitted to the Associated Press that if it weren’t for community college, he wouldn’t have made it to the NFL.

Now we get to the kicker: the money. CRC Athletic Director Liz Belyea said in an interview last year that bringing a football team to CRC would cost “about $3 million,” due to personnel and equipment.

This sounds like a lot of money, but think about how much money a team would bring to CRC, not to mention the intangible things like student participation, community pride and maybe even a championship.

But that still doesn’t solve paying for the team. However, there are a few solutions to that issue: if the city of Elk Grove is willing to pay for the possible dream of constructing a stadium and fielding a Major League Soccer team, they should be willing to pay the concrete alternative.

A football team for CRC is closer in their grasps. For one, there is already an existing stadium, two, there is interest in football at CRC and Elk Grove and three it could launch the possible careers of local athletes and coaches.

That solution doesn’t even mention possible donations. The brand new Winn Center received a nice sum of money from the Winn family to help build it. I am sure that there are former athletes of CRC and local high schools that would be willing to help fund a team.

When you think about CRC and Elk Grove, you think of a growing community. Why not let a football team grow with them?

CRC President Deborah Travis said that “each year, CRC reviews its athletic and intercollegiate team programs to ensure we are serving the needs of our students and community.”

Well maybe it is time to review a little bit harder.