"Strictly from a business standpoint, if you eliminated athletics, it would impact a number of college components, for instance occupancy in residence halls, meal plan participants, and textbook sales. For colleges with football teams, the elimination of that sport would probably also end marching band programs as we know them and maybe cheerleading. A lot of things are interconnected, and a domino effect would undoubtedly result from the elimination of sports programs."
East Central Community College President Phil Sutphin said Wednesday that it's too early to react to the proposals being laid out.
"Right now what we are most concerned about is the 5 percent budget cut that we got already for this year, and then looking at the possible budget cuts to come this year. We were able to survive the first 5 percent budget cut because of earlier things that we had done. We'll have to see what the size of the next budget cut is to determine what we have to do to deal with that," Sutphin said. "Athletics is a big issue on the high school level, university level and also the community college level. At this point, barring any unforseen circumstances, I would suspect that we would continue to have athletics at the community college level."
Barbour’s recommendation comes at a time when Pearl River Community College and Jones County Junior College are expanding their athletic facilities. PRCC is currently building a $1.175 million field house, located south of Dobie Holden Stadium on its Poplarville campus, that is scheduled to be completed by early 2010.
JCJC recently received a $250,000 check from Community Bank to help build a baseball and softball complex, scheduled to be completed by summer 2010.
PRCC President William Lewis said he believes that cutting sports programs, which range from football and basketball to soccer and golf, should be a last resort.