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By Glen Miller
While Redlands Community College’s volleyball program reached the national championship in 2012, its future fate may have unknowingly been sealed months earlier.
Prior to the start of the 2012 season, Northern Oklahoma College of Enid announced that it was dropping the sport after that campaign.
The decision left Redlands Community College as one of only two schools in Oklahoma to offer volleyball on the NJCAA Division I level for 2013 – the other being Seminole State College.
With its lone league foe 84 miles away (one-way) and the only other school in the state offering junior college volleyball in Miami (D2’s Northeastern Oklahoma A&M) – 215 miles away – travel for the 2013 season quickly became an issue.
It would be an issue that was a catalyst in the recent decision by Redlands to drop volleyball from its sports lineup.
“The volleyball division we were in, there was only one other school in the state playing, which meant a lot of our travel was out of state,” said Redlands president Jack Bryant.
Redlands athletic director Matt Newgent agreed travel was an issue, but not the underlying factor.
“I would say that was a part of it, but it was not the main thing. We didn’t want to have to cut anything,” said Newgent.
Eliminating volleyball trimmed $188,375.98 from the Redlands budget, according to figures provided by Bryant.
The move was needed as RCC tries to emerge from an audit last year which showed the college had $1.1 million in unpaid obligations. Auditors also cited issues with collection of students’ tuition and fees, listing a $1.8 million backload in uncollected funds.
Bryant’s figures showed Redlands budgeted $58,016.00 in salary and benefits to head volleyball coach Eric Duda on a 10-month contract. Bryant said Duda will be paid for eight of those 10 months.
The school had also budgeted $10,617.98 for salary and benefits for one part-time assistant coach and one part-time strength and conditioning trainer. The total coaching budget was $68,633.98.
Redlands budgeted $14,490 for operations expenditures, which included the $6,500 set aside for travel expenses of hotel and meals. Gas was not factored into that cost since it was paid out of a different budget, said Bryant.
The remainder of the Redlands volleyball budget, $105,252, went for the 13 player scholarships and housing used for the fall 2013 and spring 2014 semesters. The Cougars were allotted 14 scholarships, but one went unused.
The scholarships awarded for those 13 student-athletes broke down to $52,192 for tuition, $14,000 for books and $8,400 for fees. There were six housing waivers to Cougar Crossing Apartments awarded at $2,555 per waiver per semester, or $30,660 for the school term.
Redlands is left with men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and women’s golf. Bryant said he doesn’t foresee any more cuts in athletics.
“I’m looking at cutting across the board but this should be all the cuts we have to make in athletics,” said Bryant.
Newgent said he doesn’t expect any recruiting fallout in other sports due to RCC’s dropping of volleyball.
“There is always the potential for fallout, but kids these days are immune to larger issues. The four sports remaining all have good coaching staffs and great programs,” said Newgent.
Redlands will have to re-evaluate its position in athletics as far as Title IV issues such as equality in funds allocated for its remaining sports.
“That is certainly something we will have to look at. I can’t speak to that because I’m not sure about it at this point. We have done Title IV for this year and we will have to look at it again next year.
“We have two men’s and two women’s sports so we are still on good footing there,” said Newgent.