One last slap in the face to GCC football

If Nov. 3 home game against Phoenix was the final game, no respect shown to current and former players or coaches
By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Glendale Star Reporter
Buzz on Sports

Buzz on Sports

Every former football player should have been invited and showcased, there should have been a parade showcasing the three National Junior College Athletic Association 1988, 2000, and 2005 National Championship teams — and all former coaches should have been introduced. Instead, we got nearly a two-hour delay with one ref showing up midway through the first quarter and another showing up after the first quarter had ended.

These players, coaches and fans deserved so much more if that was the final home football game at Matt O. Hanhila Stadium at Glendale Community College Nov. 3.
After 51 years, barring a change on the Maricopa County Community College Board following Tuesday’s election, GCC football will end after its Nov. 10 game at Scottsdale.
Maricopa County Community College District board announced earlier this year the end for Glendale, Scottsdale, Phoenix and Mesa football programs. Pima Community College decided a few months later to also end football at the end of the year.
But, the final game at home should not have been the mess it was off the field Nov. 3 when the game, scheduled for a 1 p.m. kick-off, was delayed until nearly 3 p.m. because someone forgot to hire referees to officiate the game.
I arrived about 20 minutes before the scheduled kickoff and walked onto the field to something I have rarely seen that close to the start of a game: no players or coaches on the field.
What was going on, did I read the time wrong?
Talking to fans who were sitting in the stands who came to show support of the kids and program, the reaction was swift.
“Somebody forgot to get referees to officiate the game, there are none here,” Phoenix resident Joan Robinson, sitting in the visiting stands in a Phoenix Bears jersey, said. “This is the next to last game and this says a lot as to what administrators really think about football. What a joke.”
In the home stands, the feelings were even stronger.
“I cannot believe this is how they are going to send this sport out with an hour and a half delay,” Glendale resident Van Gogalonski said. “If I were the kids and coaches, I would be really angry right now. This is just wrong and us fans who are here to show support, now we have to sit here in the heat and wait. I just don’t understand how you can forget to have refs here.”
Heck, even the cheerleaders, except four from GCC, did not take the time to show up to the game.
Rumors about private meetings and misdoings are related to this reporter. Of course, none can be proven, so I have remained silent on those stories.
But, at the possible end of the sport, there should have been more.
Every former football player should have been invited and showcased, there should have been a parade showcasing the three National Junior College Athletic Association 1988, 2000, and 2005 National Championship teams — and all former coaches should have been introduced.
Instead, we got nearly a two-hour delay with one ref showing up midway through the first quarter and another showing up after the first quarter had ended.
Plus, to top it off, none of the administrators that voted to end the sport had the nerve to show up.
Sad and embarrassing were the only two words that came to mind while watching this game.
The people who made this decision are so enmeshed in their own issues, they don’t realize they are ending opportunities for hundreds to continue their educations.
Having talked to hundreds of community college athletes over the years, and I say athletes because there are rumors that MCCCD will end all athletics in the next year, most have told me if it wasn’t for community college, they would not have had the opportunity to attend college.
As the election comes to a head Nov. 6 (after press-time) the current members of the board up for re-election have shown what they think by not showing up to any of the candidate forums to discuss the issues. Numerous emails and calls from me and other reporters have gone unanswered and they have yet to give clear reasons as to why the decision was made.
The board has been questioned about the transparency of their decision with cost estimates at more than $20 million to maintain the program at the four schools that will be eliminated.
The college district’s 2018-19 budget totals $537,254,929, with an additional $193,805,061 listed for district offices. Athletics total $12,178,728, which represents 1.2 percent of the total district budget ($731,059,890).
Here’s a thought. Maybe we take $20 million from the district offices budget and keep athletics and improve the facilities. Heck, let’s take $50 million from the district offices and really make sports relevant at the community college level.
The board also estimated that, “ongoing costs to maintain the football programs could exceed $20 million in needed capital improvements and associated expenses.”
But that point was also questioned when it was announced in an email by GCC President Teresa Leyba Ruiz, that Matt O. Hanhila Stadium alone, “is in dire need of repair and would exceed $23 million to bring into compliance and repair of various plumbing problems and upgrades.”
Cold calls by myself to contractors in Arizona, with no specifics and asked if they knew of the stadium, I asked how much it would cost to rebuild the stadium as is without specifics.
The answered ranged from $5 million to $15 million for a basic stadium to be rebuilt.
So where does MCCCD come up with $20 million for capital improvements and Ruiz says GCC’s stadium is up to $23 million alone?
But issues are not just at GCC. Pima’s football team, which was scheduled to travel to Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, Nov. 3 for its game, had to scramble after head coach Jim Monoco found out that a $6,800 non-refundable deposit on airline tickets earlier this year was lost when it was not paid in full by the school.
All of this, combined with the lack of respect for what could be the final football game held at GCC, and it all adds up as one last slap in the face from the board to everyone who coached, played or attended one of the team’s games over the 51 years of its existence.

 

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