In the past months, Grand Rapids Community College has suffered a loss.
No, we didn’t lose a teacher, an administrator, or a student. As a school, we lost something bigger.
GRCC lost a football program that has touched the lives of close to 100 players just this past year alone, and thousands of players before that.
Think about all the students whose lives have been changed by the second chance they were given to play the game they loved.
A lot of the players at GRCC played for the school as a way to make it to the next level. Not having the grades needed to qualify for Division 1, these players had no other choice.
They had the talent and the skills but for one reason or another were unable to make it to the Division 1 level.
There are various reasons why students didn’t qualify for Division 1. For some, it was a lack of effort, but for others, it had more to do with the schooling than anything else.
“These schools that these kids go to are night and day,” said former Assistant Coach and program recruiter Curtis Andrews. “The schools are a mess and these kids needed this program.”
In a recent interview, Andrews shared his concern for what would happen to players around Michigan and the entire Midwest now that there is no more GRCC football.
He voiced his concern for what would happen to players who didn’t qualify to play Division 1 ball. GRCC was their only route to making it to the next level.
When GRCC canceled the football program in January, the public was told the reason behind the decision was the $250,000 price tag the team had, travel issues, and Title IX problems.
If the money was the big issue, then there are ways to get around that.
Would a fund-raiser have helped? What about swallowing some pride and asking for donations?
None of that matters now anyway, and now the school has to deal with the fact that for the coming years, there will be hundreds of players without a home.
There will be hundreds of students whose lives will never be the same. They won’t have the discipline, the friendships, or the lessons that players learn while playing college football.
When high school players around the Midwest are looking for a junior college, they will now have to turn to California, Iowa, Georgia or elsewhere if they want to play.
The future is often cloudy for many high school student athletes, and by canceling the football program, GRCC affected the lives of many.
It’s too bad that effect will be in such a negative way.