Many high school athletes have dreams of attending big Division 1 colleges such as Ohio State or playing in other divisions such as Division 2 and Division 3. For some that is not an option either due to talent, financial reasons or unknown circumstances. That is when Junior Colleges and Community Colleges become involved.
The NJCAA(National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association) was accepted by its charter members on May 14, 1938 and the organization held its first national championship event a year later in May 1939. LCCC is a part of this association and follows the guidelines and rules they have in place. Countless student athletes attend here but does not know or understand the process of transferring to a different school.
Witnessing athletes come and go
Athletic Director Katie Marquard, has been here at LCCC for about a decade and witnessed various athletes come and leave. “They use their one or two years of eligibility and if going to a four year college, they will still have their two-three years of eligibility left at the school of their choice.” Marquard said. “What happens is whenever someone wants to transfer schools, I usually receive a transfer tracer form which asks you how many semesters, seasons, sports and eligibility they have used. That goes for students coming here from another college as well. The tracer form will be used for them.”
Athletes that attend a JUCO (Junior College) or a community college will only have two seasons of competition at any NJCAA institution, if they have not participated in any intercollegiate level during the two previous seasons. Participating in one or more regularly scheduled events prior to postseason competition uses up a season of eligibility. “Eligibility is based on how many credit hours, semesters spent there and GPA. I would then send the information to the college they are transferring to and see if they are eligible under the rules of the college.”
Head Cross Country Coach & Assistant Athletic Director Jim Powers, had a few statements on the topic as well. “We have varsity sports and club sports. Club sports counts as a year of eligibility. Our students need to know that if you participate in a club sport, that will go on that transfer tracer form,” Powers said. “If you play one game, that counts for a whole year of eligibility under the NJCAA.”
Fortunately for the student athletes, there is a way to keep eligibility if any serious circumstance happens. Marty Eggleston, head coach of men’s basketball team, had this to say on players retaining eligibility. “The circumstances have to be outside of your control. You have to be hurt or sick to be able to apply for hardships.” Marquard adds “There is a hardship though for the NJCAA if you get injured. If you play for a couple games and you get hurt, you can apply for hardship, get a doctor’s signature, and then they would send the paperwork to the NJCAA and they will have to approve it.”
“I want them to become men first, basketball is just a sport they play.”
All three individuals want students to continue their passion for sports here if they can. Coach Marty exclaims, “This is a tremendous place for students to sharpen their skills. Students can come here and get better. I tell my players all the time, I don’t think any student athlete wakes up and say I’m going to a junior college. We recognize our position. Our position is too valuable in the process of the growth of athletes. My priorities are to make sure they graduate and excel in the field. We are used athletically for students to get to the next level. This gives them a chance to create a great success story.” Eggleston continues, “Before I came here, I was working with grown men and did not like their work ethics. So when I was offered this job, it gave me the chance to teach better work habits. Basketball is probably the last thing I teach these guys. I want them to become men first, basketball is just a sport they play.”
Coach Powers had also seen many athletes thrive after leaving LCCC. “We have a lot of student athletes leave here and have successful careers. The opportunity is here. We have 4-year schools contact us all the time.” Coach Marty had 18 players from the men’s team graduate and has another player graduating in December.