Area player shocked by NW-SCC decisionPublished 7:59am Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Northwest Shoals Community College announced Monday it plans to suspend its athletic program indefinitely, a decision that is not setting well with local athletes.
Amber Smith, who signed a basketball scholarship at NW-SCC in 2010, said none of the athletes saw the move coming and were stunned when told about the news.
“Everybody is torn up about it,” Smith said. “We didn’t know until [Monday].”
NW-SCC decided to suspend the athletic program in an effort to save an estimated $610,000 per year. Bevill State Community College made a similar announcement last week.
The decisions by NW-SCC and Bevill State will be felt by a handful of athletes from Franklin County who signed with those programs to extend their playing careers. None of the other local athletes were available for comment.
Smith said players at NW-SCC were told they were free to find another program to play for, but if they could not locate another scholarship offer NW-SCC would honor the second year of her scholarship if she maintained academic eligibility. Current high school seniors who have already signed with NW-SCC will also be allowed to search for a new program or use the scholarship at NW-SCC, but not compete in athletics.
“It’s going to put us in a big bind because everybody has players they want,” Smith said.
She said trying to find a basketball offer will be difficult because most programs have already concluded recruiting for the fall. Smith also plays softball at NW-SCC and said she might be able to find a scholarship in that sport, but recruiting is also coming to a close for softball.
Smith said the players who are sophomores this season are not effected by this move since the ones going on to play at four-year colleges have already received offers. She said she is worried about high school seniors who have signed with NW-SCC also being unable to find a scholarship at another program.
Smith said she appreciates NW-SCC offer to extend her scholarship, but she also wants to compete in athletics.
“I would rather go on to play somewhere, but it will be hard for basketball season,” Smith said. “I might be able to for softball, but it will be hard for both sports.”