Football in community colleges


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Community College football man! Photo via Getty Images.​​

Darrius Frazier, Archivist

Many students come to Lake Land College (LLC) to enjoy what the campus has to offer. However, several students are disappointed that one thing LLC doesn’t offer is a football team. The reason is Football can be expensive when factoring in insurance and travel costs. 


Only prominent colleges and universities, such as the University of Illinois-Champaign, Eastern Illinois University and  Indiana State University, offer football. Only a select number of community colleges in the country offer football. The community colleges that provide football are known as JUCO, short for junior colleges. 


Only one such program exists in Illinois, which is the College of DuPage, with the main campus in Glen Ellyn, a western suburb of Chicago. The College of DuPage, which currently enrolls over 21,000 students, is the second largest provider of undergraduate education in Illinois after the University of Illinois-Urbana, Champaign. College of DuPage has additional campuses in the Illinois communities of Addison, Carol Stream, Naperville and Westmont. Since the College of DuPage is not affiliated with any conferences, meaning they are an Independent program, they play against schools from across the country.


William ‘Bill’ Jackson has been the current Athletic Director for Lake Land College since January 2014. Jackson has been the Baseball Head Coach since August 2012, along with his current position, until 2018, when Jackson decided to focus on his recent work exclusively. Jackson has been involved in college athletics since 2000. 


Jackson mentioned that “all of Mississippi community colleges offer football. There is one program in Illinois that offer football (College of DuPage), three in Iowa, and 10-11 in Kansas. There is a pocket in Texas and one in Utah, and they are spread around the United States. We used to have three programs in Illinois that offer football, Harper College and Joliet Community College, which disbanded their programs over ten years ago. California has quite a few programs that offer football. However, the California community colleges that offer football have three governing bodies and are not part of the National Junior College Association of Athletes (NJCAA). All other community colleges that offer football in the nation fall under the NJCAA guidelines.” 


Jackson explained that many colleges across the country disbanded their programs “due to limited funds. It was putting stress on the budgets, especially when you factor in the travel costs along with insurance. Costs for bussing student-athletes to games has become more expensive compared to going to the nearby airport and flying them to games as well as becoming taxing.”  


Jackson stated that the reason why community colleges don’t have football is that “the local communities that offer high football have only 30-50 students competing, which is not sustainable. Conversely, the high school soccer teams have at least sixty students on the team competing. Pretty much what it comes down to is numbers in regards to high school sports in regard to how many student-athletes are on any given team. The other aspect is the budgetary issues, insurance and liability.

The numbers in our school district do not support us having a football program.” 


Jackson finished by saying that he “would like to have a football team on campus, but we would need to either build a new stadium somewhere on campus or share the football stadium with Mattoon High School.”

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