The Western Nevada College women's soccer team was proving to be possibly one of the nation's top programs " both athletically and academically " in the making. It will never be known what the program could have been.
On Thursday, the college announced its decision to drop the program after just three years. The program was dropped because it had been too difficult to continue in the Scenic West Athletic Conference.
WNC coach Hillary Arthur carefully chose her words when reacting to losing her program, but stressed she understood the decision.
"I'm very disappointed," Arthur said. "The team's devastated. They're pretty upset right now.
"I don't know what I'm allowed to say. I want to be pretty careful about what we do talk about. I don't want to get in trouble. I'm not sure what I can and can't say."
With the loss of women's soccer, WNC is left now with just one sport, baseball. Since it offers a men's sport in baseball, Title IX basically requires that the college still offer a women's sport. WNC is looking at adding women's volleyball or softball in 2008-2009.
When the Wildcats were set to enter the Scenic West in women's soccer, it was expected there would be five teams in the conference: WNC, North Idaho College, Community College of Southern Nevada, Dixie State and Salt Lake Community College.
But CCSN dropped its program in favor of softball and Dixie State moved up to the Division II level. Salt Lake never raised its program from the club to the intercollegiate level, leaving the conference with just two teams in WNC and North Idaho.
The conference decided last week that in 2008, no women's soccer regular season conference games would be played and that only a conference tournament would be held in Salt Lake City to decide the title. With WNC dropping out and North Idaho as the only team left, a tournament now is not even necessary and the conference's future in women's soccer is obviously in doubt.
With no regular season conference games, Western Nevada would have had to play virtually all of the close to 20 games required by the National junior College Athletic Association on the road. The increased travel time would have made it financially unaffordable and caused too much time from the classroom to continue the program.
For more, see Friday's sports section or check back online at nevadaappeal.com.