Moberly Area Community College is planning to add the sports of baseball, softball and eSports to its student athletic program at the start of the 2021 fall semester.
The future additions will join the longstanding, historical Greyhounds men and women's basketball programs within the NJCAA Division I since Maurice John served as Moberly's first men's head coach for the 1946-47 season, and Joyce Campbell was the first Lady Greyhounds coach during the 1977-78 campaign.
“Expanding athletics is something we've considered over the years at MACC, so this is not a new idea. We've looked a lot about what's going on in our region and there has been an expansion of athletics at several other community colleges. Most of these expansions have been in the area of baseball and softball, and also eSport,” said MACC President Dr. Jeff Lashley. “What we've decided at MACC is to look to expand our athletics to those three sports activities here at our Moberly campus and hopefully have them in place at the start of classes in the fall of 2021. But for that to happen there is much planning ahead of us to complete. There is a lot of development in terms of how we put all of this in order, and as more of those things are more solidified there will be a great need to look into how we are going to fund these new programs.”
Esports is a form of sport competition using video games. Esports often takes the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams. The subject in recent years has grown rapidly across the country, including NAIA institution Columbia College where it became the fourth college in the country in 2018 to offer scholarships for eSports.
Lashley emphasized that said college is in the preliminary stages of researching and planning for these new additions. As a result, more details about the new additions would not be available until shortly after the basketball season concludes.
“We are going to need to look at our community to learn if there will be enough support coming from the community because there will be startup costs and other financial needs to keep such programs operational. We will be looking to partner with entities in our Moberly community,” Lashley added. “All of this preliminary work will need to be in order before we formally move forward and market these new program offerings. We feel these new additions will be very positive for both our campus and community.”
Unlike Greyhounds basketball, the new sports initially would not compete at the NJCAA Division level to where there are multiple college scholarships available, but instead at the Division II or III status. Lashley said this would attract more students from the mid-Missouri area to enroll at MACC who are also interested in continuing to play one of those sports but do not intend to be participate in them at a higher college level.
Lashley was also asked Wednesday if he knew reasons why MACC has chosen to have basketball as its only sport when all other colleges within Region 16 offer other sports.
“I cannot speak on behalf of the reasons made by my predecessors, but I know running athletic programs requires much financial resources, it takes staff and other people directly involved and doing a lot of things with a single program and I know there are tons of benefits associated with it. But you have to be committed to continue doing that on a consistent basis all the time,” Lashley said. “For whatever reason adding other athletic programs has not been acted upon in recent years. I know decades in the past the college once had a golf and tennis team, but traditionally Moberly Area Community College is known to be a basketball school only.”
By comparison, here is a look at the athletic programs offered by the other NJCAA Division I Region 16 colleges. However, other than basketball, some of the sports programs at these institutions compete at the Division II level.
Crowder College in Neosho offers women's basketball and softball, men's baseball and soccer, and men's and women's eSports.
Jefferson College in Hillsboro offers women's basketball, softball and volleyball. Also men's and women's soccer and cheerleading, and men's baseball.
- Mineral Area College in Park Hills offers men's and women's sports in basketball, track & field, cross country and cheerleader. Also offered is women's volleyball and softball, men's baseball and golf.
- Missouri State University-West Plains offers men's basketball, women's volleyball, and men's and women's cheerleading.
- State Fair CC in Sedalia offers men's and women's basketball, cheerleading and soccer. Also women's softball, and men's baseball and golf.
Three Rivers CC in Poplar Bluff offers men's and women's basketball, cheerleading and rodeo. Also baseball and softball.
Meanwhile, the following Missouri community colleges offer the following Division II or III athletic programs:
St. Louis CC offers men's and women's basketball and soccer, women's volleyball and softball, and men's baseball, with programs located at two different campus sites.
East Central in Union has men's baseball, women's softball and volleyball and both men's and women's soccer.
North Central at Trenton offers men's and women's basketball, golf, soccer, eSports and cheerleading; men's baseball and women's softball.
Metropolitan CC at Kansas City has different sports located at five campus sites in the metro area for men's and women's basketball, cross country, golf and soccer; women's volleyball and softball, and men's baseball.