Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Craig campus is preparing to transfer its men’s and women’s soccer teams to the main campus in Rangely.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

Tension was high at the Colorado Northwestern Community College’s monthly meeting with the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board as some board members expressed their frustration over a story they believed was a lack of communication between the Craig campus and the main Rangely campus.

That month, the board discussed the decision to move CNCC’s soccer teams – which have been based on the Craig campus since 2016 – to the Rangely campus. That decision, Moffat County’s board members said, came to the local board without warning.

However, the school’s new president said such action is critical to delivering on the college’s larger promises to Craig and other communities it serves – a promise they are currently failing to keep.

Currently every other sport is played and practiced at CNCC on the Rangely campus. Much of the athletics support is also located in Rangely. This is one of the reasons why the team is moving. The necessary services and facilities are already in place to care for the student athletes at Rangely, according to a spokesman for the college, and there have been concerns from parents and students about the footballer’s safety and wellbeing.

Dr. Lisa Jones, President of CNCC, echoed these concerns at Wednesday’s meeting.

“I’ve worked with sports programs (for decades). I know them inside out, ”said Jones. “I also know what parents expect and I know for sure what our parents expect when it comes to football. And it wasn’t what they got. I think we owe a lot more to our students than forcing an experience. This is not a holistic, positive experience. We owe them better. “

Jones added that the resources made available to the men’s and women’s soccer teams can be used in other areas of CNCC’s Craig campus. She said the teams’ move was a decision that required time and thought on the part of multiple parties, and that shifting those funds to cover other parts of student lives will benefit both athletes and students in Moffat County.

“We’re looking at the fact that we got $ 175,000 that we’re one-sided on (football),” said Jones. “That could be spent on our academic company, which is currently pathetically underfunded. I’ve said this several times: we have a program here where we don’t have a full-time faculty member. The Higher Learning Commission will be kidding us if we don’t fix this. We could have done a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) but we can’t do a BSN until we get a graduate nurse. The only way to do this is to be able to afford one; they are not cheap. “

However, members of the MCAJCD board of directors have expressed concerns about feeling excluded from this decision. Board member Terry Carwile argued that while the Moffat County’s board of directors was involved in the decision to bring the team to Craig in 2016, he felt that the board should have communicated more about the decision to remove the team.

“A few years ago, up until 2016, when the college first asked for support for a soccer team on this campus, we agreed. And we raised money (roughly $ 247,000 over three years), ”Carwile said. “It’s hard for me to agree that we don’t play a role in this discussion as we were the ones originally approached to introduce this team’s presence in Craig.”

Board member Lois Wymore said she had received multiple calls from community members regarding the team’s move, and when Wymore was called, he said the termination of the vice president position for the Craig Campus position was also a reason for the underrepresentation. That position, however, should serve as a representative of the CNCC cabinet as a whole, not necessarily just Craig campus, Jones said.

“It looks to our public like they have no voice over what is happening at CNCC,” said Wymore. “(Board members are) not in a very good position to sell (the decision to move the team). Neither of us knew this was happening. So if we had known what you were talking about, we could have asked your filtered complaints or the questions about them. “

Kirstie McPherson, chairman of the board, said that while she is okay with the decision to move the team, she hopes there will be better communication with the Moffat County’s board of directors in the future to move forward.

“I think the most important thing – what we have talked about in the past as the board of directors – is that there has to be a better conversation with the board because we will always be the first to be called (by community members) “Said McPherson.

Closing the discussion on the soccer team, Jones said they applaud and appreciate the recoil, saying that this shows that the board members and the community are paying attention to what is happening at CNCC.

“Right now, it’s my job to seek further stabilization,” said Jones. “And then (I) make sure we have an infrastructure to work from for our enrollment in all three facets of the three legged chair: transfers, CTE (Vocational Technical Training) and manpower. We sorely underestimate our fellowship in all three areas. This is the largest community of all three we serve, and we have less here. “

The meeting next month is scheduled for October 18th.