WNCC looking at possiblity of athletics

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The thinking is if Western Nevada Community College builds an athletic program, some of the area's best and brightest student-athletes will come.

WNCC has begun to take baby steps to form an athletic program at the school. A task force of community leaders from throughout Northern Nevada has taken what can be called preliminary steps at looking what it will take to offer athletics at the school.

No timetable has been set as the school is still a long way from establishing an athletic program.

But the school is serious in its plans to begin an athletic program, said Helaine Jesse, WNCC vice president of institutional advancement, who's overseeing the task force for the school.

"We're definitely going to do something," said Jesse about future plans for athletics at WNCC. "It's going to be awesome whatever we do."

Jesse said an athletic program wouldn't just serve some of the area's top athletes, but some of the top academic students as well. "I think a lot of students will benefit," she said.

The task force has met twice and at its next meeting, perameters for a feasibility study on what it will take to offer athletics at WNCC will be covered, Jesse said. Jesse said she hopes a feasibility study could begin to be done in April or May.

Among the issues the study will look at will be what sports should be offered, finances and what community resources there are such as facilities.

"What we can afford. What will people support here? What the high school students in the area want. All of the basic questions," said Jesse about what the study will cover.

Another issue WNCC has to look at is what conference will it compete in or will the school compete as an independent. Since many schools in Northeastern California in the Golden Valley Conference already recruit student-athletes from the area, schools from that conference aren't interested in WNCC joining the league at this time.

WNCC did compete in the Golden Valley Conference in basketball in the early 1970s, Jesse said. Another possibility is for WNCC to join a conference with Sacramento-area schools, she said.

"Right now I'm researching what league we'll play in," Jesse said.

Another issue that the school will have to look at is Title IX, which requires equal opportunity be given to female as well as male athletes.

Jesse said any athletic program will be gender-balanced. "We're very aware of that," she said.

Carson High athletic director Ron McNutt, who has attended one of the task force meetings, said he would like to see WNCC offer athletics, but understands there's still a long process ahead.

"They're looking into the possibility and that's all they've done so far," he said. "I don't know what the can do and can't do."

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.


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