Risk verses reward in football

Dakotah Zabroski

The absence of some sports at Los Medanos College has left many interested athletes without a game to play even though potential players indicate they would take steps to help bring their sport to LMC.

LMC has just three men’s teams and four women’s teams, due to the fact that Title IX requires equal funding for both men and women to avoid discrimination. And some feel this legislation has hurt men’s programs over the years.

Title IX is “great for women’s sports, but has hurt men’s sports. It’s a shame that there isn’t a men’s soccer program,” said women’s soccer coach Mark Bryant, adding that there is much interest.

“I think that for every sports team there should be a girls’ and a guys’ team,” said women’s soccer captain Lexi Kos.

According to Title IX regulations from the Department of Labor, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

But while Title IX is supposed ensure equal treatment and spending for both men and women’s sports, the budget for men’s teams at LMC was $123,676 while the women’s was $71,070, and men’s team actually spent $253,448.11 while women’s teams spent $132,450.67 according to the figures by LMC budget records provided by Judy Breza, Interim Director of Business Services.

According to LMC Athletics Director Richard Villegas, all sports fundraised “a little under $20,000” to supplement their general fund budget.

Breza said that any money overspent by department and programs comes from other district resources and LMC is able to transfer funds as needed throughout the year. She added that priorities often change and “money is redirected to areas with higher needs.”

But because adding new sports has not been a priority due to lack of state funding for community colleges, several athletes have  said that they would help personally fund the sport they are interested in playing and even take steps to fundraise to bring a sports team to LMC.

Interested Track and Field Athlete Brandon Brum said he would pay up to $100 to play his sport while Kos said she would do “whatever it took to raise the money” for her sport.

The ethical issue of poverty may come up, however, when dealing with athletes self funding for a specific sport, since not all players can afford to pay to play. Many athletes are still determined to play his or her sport even if they are low income.

“I’d pay out of pocket as long as we had a program available,” said Reggie Smith, an interested wrestler.

Some current sports at LMC do fundraise to compensate for their overspending.

“I had to send out letters asking for donations, worked baseball camps and even security at Cal football games to raise money to spend on equipment and travel,” said Hunter Jorgensen, former LMC baseball player.

Outside businesses could even pitch in to help donate money to bring a sport back. Any business can donate to a specific sport, said Villegas.

Local athletes have even attended different schools just to play the sport they are interested in.

“I would have gone to LMC instead of City College for track out of high school if they had a team,” said Steven Macintosh, a track athlete who graduated from Heritage High School in Brentwood in 2010.

Not only do local athletes attend different schools instead of LMC for their sports but LMC also loses opportunities to have standout athletes, such as discus thrower Aaron Volkman who also graduated from Heritage High School in Brentwood in 2010 who said “they would have the best discus thrower in the state of California in the J.C. rankings.”

Sports at community colleges can be beneficial to a player’s future,” said Bryant. “Community college offers great opportunities.”

Playing football at LMC is what gave current Oakland Raiders defensive end Dave Tollefson an opportunity to be noticed so he could extend his career to a four-year college and then to the professional level, according to the LMC Alumni Success Story page on the school’s website.

There is money to be made at the professional level; the minimum salary for a professional baseball player is $480,000, according to MLB.com. Baseball at LMC has seen 19 professional draft picks according to the LMC Baseball webpage.

Professional soccer players make at least $33,750 a year according to MLS.com, and the average salary of a men’s tennis player is $260,000 according to statsticsbrain.com. Because of the lack of teams at LMC, some would-be players may may be losing out on potential career opportunities.