WNCC pushes back baseball to 2006

Opening day for the Western Nevada Community College baseball team has been pushed back to 2006.

The Western Nevada Wildcats had originally planned to begin play in 2005 in baseball after receiving approval from the Board of Regents to add baseball and women's soccer to its athletic program. But WNCC vice president Helaine Jesse, who has led the effort to restore athletics at the school, said scheduling issues was one reason why it was decided to wait another year.

Jesse said the school could also use the extra year in planning for the baseball program. WNCC will begin competition in women's soccer in the fall, 2005 at Edmonds Park as originally planned and will begin competition in baseball in 2006 at Governor's Field.

The school will still hire a baseball coach this summer, giving the new coach a full year to recruit players for his program. It's expected that a coach will be hired sometime in July. The position pays $25,000 a year, plus benefits, and there's also the possibilty the coach could teach some credits if he has a master's.

Advertising for a women's soccer coach will begin in the fall with a coach expected to be hired in early 2005.

WNCC originally planned to play as an independent in baseball in 2005. But the school couldn't guarantee enough games for student-athletes to use up a year of eligiblity to make playing next year worth it, Jesse said.

"It's too late to get into the schedule," said Jesse about being able to offer enough games.

"It just didn't seem fair to them," said Jesse about student-athletes using a year of eligibility for just a partial schedule. "It's just going to be better for the kids and it will give us more time to get ready."

The school has submitted a request to the Commission on Athletics, which governs California Community College athletics, to join its association. Jesse said the commission is receptive to the idea of placing WNCC in either the Bay Valley or Golden Valley Conference.

The Bay Valley consists of schools from the Bay Area and Sacramento Area while schools such as Feather River and Lassen from Northeastern California compete in the Golden Valley.

But another attractive possibility could be the Scenic West Conference, which includes Community College of Southern Nevada, College of Southern Idaho and Utha's Dixie State College. The conference uses wood bats in baseball and CCSN went on to win the national title in baseball in 2003. Jesse said the Scenic West "really wants" WNCC to join its league.

California Community Colleges don't allow athletic scholarships while the Scenic West does allow scholarships. Either way, student-athletes from Nevada attending WNCC could use the Millennium Scholarship.

Contact Charles Whisnand at chwisnand@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1214.

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