By Kris McBride
Public encouraged to provide written comments that lead to a more informed decision
THATCHER, Ariz. — Eastern Arizona College will host a public open house regarding its football program on Thursday, Dec. 6, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the lobby of the Gherald L. Hoopes Jr. Activities Center. The purpose of this open house is for EAC to share information from an internal review and to gather written comments to determine if the College can afford to continue subsidizing the football program despite significant changes in the Western States Football League.
“Football has been a valuable component of EAC’s educational and student experience since 1920,” stated EAC President Todd Haynie. “The only reason we are evaluating whether to maintain the program or not is that the landscape has significantly changed – there are only three out of eight teams left in the Western States Football League.”
This open house follows the decisions of the Maricopa Community College District to end district-sponsored programs at Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, and Glendale community colleges, and of Pima Community College to end its football program. Besides EAC, the only programs operating within the Western States Football League are Snow College and Arizona Western College which has committed to temporarily keep football through 2019.
“Like many community colleges, EAC’s football program is subsidized by college funds, and we want to know how our community feels about its role and impact,” stated Haynie. “That’s why we are hosting the community open house – so we can learn firsthand what the community thinks about the future of EAC football in the Gila Valley.”
At the open house, participants will be asked to visit several stations hosted by EAC employees and ask questions about the program. After visiting each station, participants will then be asked to provide written comments so EAC can use them to make a more informed decision.
“It is important to remember that this is a multi-faceted issue,” stated Haynie. “As stewards of public funds, we appreciate the community attending this open house to provide comments that will help us determine if a schedule is viable, if we can operate within budget, and if it is possible to maintain a balance of costs and benefits.”