RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake Tech Community College hasn't named a director to run the school’s future athletic program yet, but that hasn’t curbed the interest from students and faculty in the program that will start to take shape next year.
Wake Tech would be the 20th community college in the state to offer an athletic program. The program would not be in the NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association, instead falling into the NJCAA – National Junior College Athletic Association.
People at Wake Tech argue that it doesn’t need to be in the NCAA to be a success.
“I think it’s a good idea that Wake Tech is actually bringing in a sports program. So, I would be interested in at least trying out,” said student Ashley Pravlik.
Dozens of other students, including some from out of state, have also been inquiring about the new sports teams.
“We have to eradicate that myth that junior college is somehow diminutive to a four year institution,” said Wake Tech student Shahzeel Sarfraz. “Just because it doesn’t have the same prestige of the ‘names,’ you do the same exact things for the first two years. It ‘s a good program to start and…sports should be in it.”
The school’s athletic facilities currently consist of three tennis courts, but things will change in the fall as soccer, volleyball and golf are offered. A year later the school will add basketball and baseball.
“I had a travel agent call and ask if they could start booking flights for our team…and that’s the truth,” Wake Tech President Steve Scott said.
The team will not be flying to games; instead they will play other community colleges in the state, like Louisburg College.
Jerry Edwards, assistant baseball coach at Louisburg College, said the biggest thing with his players is getting their grades in order and improving their baseball skills so they can move on to the Division 1 Level.
The college hopes to have an athletic director hired in the next six weeks. Scott said the school is looking for corporate sponsors to held funds teams and facilities, including the approximately $3 million soccer fields.
In addition to the athletic program, the school also will be searching for an official mascot. The eagle has been the unofficial mascot, but the school want suggestions from students and faculty. A panel will accept their suggestions until the end of the week. The panel will then narrow choices down and allow the public to vote on the new mascot.
During a 12 month period, about 58,000 students attended Wake Tech.