There is a lack of Kansas athletes in Juco Sports

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There is a lack of Kansas athletes in Juco Sports

Gina Ballesteros shoots from the corner during a Lady Saints scrimmage. The freshman guard from Ulyssess is one of the few local Kansas athletes playing at SCCC.

Gina Ballesteros shoots from the corner during a Lady Saints scrimmage. The freshman guard from Ulyssess is one of the few local Kansas athletes playing at SCCC.

Victoria Martins

Gina Ballesteros shoots from the corner during a Lady Saints scrimmage. The freshman guard from Ulyssess is one of the few local Kansas athletes playing at SCCC.

Victoria Martins

Victoria Martins

Gina Ballesteros shoots from the corner during a Lady Saints scrimmage. The freshman guard from Ulyssess is one of the few local Kansas athletes playing at SCCC.

Kris Liggett, Sports Reporter

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Local athletes are a rare thing to see at Seward County Community College. Right now, international students are who participate the most. In JUCO basketball, Kansas student-athletes participation has fallen by 53 percent, and women’s participation has fallen by 28 percent. 

Two years ago, it was voted unanimously by the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) that out of state roster restrictions would be made. This rule limited rosters to only have eight out of state players on the basketball rosters, and 20 out of state kids on the football rosters.

 At Seward, cheerleading is the one sport that is still dominated by in state athletes with 28 from Kansas. The baseball roster has 2 in state athletes, both from Liberal. The Women’s basketball roster has one in-state athlete. Men’s and women’s tennis, men’s basketball and softball have a total of zero in-state athletes. 

There are many reasons that could cause this. The most common being the rule change. But another thing that could be causing this, is perhaps maybe there’s just a shortage of athletes that are not good enough to make it to this level in Kansas. 

 

Rebecca Irby
Seward County Community College has very few local Kansas athletes. The baseball team and women’s basketball team are home to three local students. While SCCC is a ‘border state’ college, the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) declares Oklahoma and Texas athletes as “out-of-state.”

Since not many Kansas athletes are on SCCC sport teams, international players have taken over most of the rosters, not only at Seward, but in all JUCOs across America. 

“It’s kind of unique here at Seward especially with all the Mozambique players that we have had here. We’ve had a lot of success with those kids so we continue to recruit,” Austin Mefford, head women’s basketball coach said. “We have two kids from Poland, so we have a strong connection there.”

When recruiting non-local or international athletes, it’s important to have strong connections, Mefford added.

“That’s the whole thing about recruiting nowadays it’s all about connections and who you know, and not just necessarily with international kids, but all kids as well,” the coach said.

Since the rule change, Seward has seen an improvement in quality at the JUCO level. This rule has allowed teams to get the best players available without any restrictions, to limit the quality. Kansas kids today mostly have to go through the Division II or NAIA route if they want to continue to play in their home state. 

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