December 15, 2015

SEDALIA—State Fair Community College will add four more sports programs—baseball, softball and men’s and women’s soccer—in the 2016-2017 academic year to help boost enrollment and expand vitality and campus life at the Sedalia campus.

The Board of Trustees approved the proposal Tuesday at a special meeting.

SFCC President Dr. Joanna Anderson said one of the goals of the college’s 2020 Vision Strategic Plan was to increase net revenue.

“One option was to evaluate adding intercollegiate programs, so we are following the strategic plan,” said Anderson. “We think it will be a wonderful addition for both SFCC and the community.”

Anderson said board approval was contingent upon a net neutral budget beginning the first year with no college funds being redirected for program support.

All four sports will be played at National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I levels. Men’s and women’s soccer is slated to begin in fall 2016 and baseball and softball in spring 2017, said Athletics Director Darren Pannier. The baseball team will play at Liberty Baseball Stadium and the softball team will play at Richard Vansell Field in Liberty Park. SFCC’s soccer field will be redeveloped.

“The college will offer six full scholarships (tuition and fees only; no housing) for each of the four sports,” said Pannier. “Ideally we would recruit a team of 40 baseball players (34 walks-ons); 32 softball players (26 walk-ons); and 32 players each for the men’s and women’s soccer teams (26 walk-ons each).”

The new coaching staff will include one full-time head coach and one part-time assistant coach each for baseball and softball, and one full-time head coach to direct both men’s and women’s soccer aided by two part-time assistant coaches. Coaching positions will be posted through normal hiring procedures with a July 1, 2016, start date.

Full recruitment will begin as soon as coaches are hired, said Pannier. Prospective student athletes can inquire now at http://sfccmoroadrunners.com/student-athletes/prospects.

Pannier said the college researched programs at other Missouri community colleges and four-year colleges to compare the number of players and scholarship packages to ensure SFCC would be competitive with other schools.

Anderson said three campus community forums were held to gauge interest and support for adding sports, and a meeting was held last week with potential community supporters to gauge interest and levels of financial support.

“A number of individuals and businesses have already expressed financial and in-kind support of the programs,” she said. “The SFCC Foundation’s goal is to raise $75,000 and to date, more than $34,000 a year has been committed for the next three years, as well as in-kind support for athletic training, soccer field redevelopment and a scoreboard.”

Anyone who would like to support the sports programs may contact Mary K. Treuner, executive director of the foundation, at mtreuner@sfccmo.edu or (660) 530-5811.

The SFCC Roadrunner Booster Club will continue to raise funds for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as all four new sports, said Pannier. Additional financial support from the community is always welcome.
Although SFCC has never had softball or women’s soccer programs, baseball and soccer are not new to the college. SFCC’s baseball program began in spring 1970 and ended in spring 1988. The Residence Hall replaced the baseball field in 1999-2000.

Men’s soccer began as a club program in 1969 and ended in 2001. SFCC suspended the program for the 2002-2003 academic year after an administrative investigation revealed information suggesting player eligibility breaches preceding the 2001 season. This led to the forfeiture of the 1998 and 1999 national championships.

Anderson said if the program is reinstated it would be under sanctions that include no post-season play or post-season awards for two seasons. However, she said the college plans to petition the NJCAA to have those sanctions lifted. The sanctions only apply to men’s soccer since SFCC did not have a women’s soccer program at the time.