During the December 2 meeting of the East Central College board of trustees, members voted to approve a recommendation by the college’s administration to restart men’s baseball and add women’s soccer to ECC’s athletic offerings. The proposal had been researched and discussed at the College for nearly a year.
“I believe the addition of these sports will enable us to serve a wider population of students and help meet our strategic goals,” says Dr. Jon Bauer, president of East Central College. “The addition of the athletic teams aligns with our strategic plan, SOAR to 2024, by increasing yearly degree completion and the increase in revenue from the additional credit hours.”
The expansion timeline would see women’s soccer starting in fall 2020 and men’s baseball will start play in spring 2022 to be given time to hire coaches and properly prepare the baseball field. The baseball program was cut in 2001 due to budget cuts after starting in 1974. Notable baseball alumni from that era include former Toronto Blue Jay and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Tom Henke and former major leaguer Omir Santos who played with the Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians.
Men’s baseball will have a roster of 35 players while women’s soccer will have a roster of 25 student-athletes.
According to Vice President for Student Development Heath Martin, student-athletes perform well in the classroom. “Our student-athletes have a higher grade point average, course completion rates, and graduation and transfer rates than non-athletes.”
Dr. Bauer says the recommendation to add the two sports was thoughtful and grounded in data analysis. “We have a three-year expansion plan laid out. The two new athletic programs will ultimately cover their expenses through a combination of tuition, general fees and course fees while also using student activity fees. We expect to see an excess in revenue that will be used to support the operations of the College.”
“There are three primary reasons for moving forward with these two sports: enrollment, student success and revenue generation. Adding athletic teams is a trend being seen at community colleges across Missouri.”
The college will soon be posting a job in search of a full-time men’s and women’s soccer coach. The ECC Foundation will be spearheading a fundraising campaign to raise funds to upgrade the current baseball field.