Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College discontinues its athletic program

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There are many different reasons why students attend college, with the most important focus being education first. For student-athletes, the sports factors comes second, but for Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College athletics just wrapped up their final season, school officials have decided to do away with theirs entirely.

“It can’t be underestimated the impact that sports does have on one’s life. So, I mean, that’s what I’m in it for. This is my ministry coach and using the athletic realm to kind of help bring students from all walks of life together and give them a second chance at life,” said Head Men’s and Women’s Coach Robert Smith.

After learning the news himself from a phone conversation with acting president Anita Hanson telling him that the decision was made that they were getting rid of athletics, coach Smith wanted to be the one to tell his teams.

“I can get everybody together, had a zoom call, and talked a little bit about the season in the past, and then just told, you know, everybody that, like I made my promise at the beginning of the season that, my job is to help them further on in their careers, whether it be helping them out in a job or help them out to go to a four-year school.”

The college put out a statement on its website with thoughts from acting President Hanson on the decision to discontinue the program; to review it, click here. After the school discontinued football in 2019, all that was left was men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball.

For some graduating players, it was a somber moment knowing that the teams’ legacies are ending here. “Nobody else is going to be able to go in there and experience that, like what it feels like for the gym to change your daily life and do something different for doing it like that just, just didn’t sit right with me. The fact is that basketball or any sport here in general, basketball is just not going to be here to help impact a change in no kid’s life. “It changed my life totally, it build me, it give me discipline and structure, and helped me to become the young man.” Shooting Guard/Small Forward Nakari Caruth shared.

Power Forward and Center Jehoiada Goins added, “first I was just kind of shocked. I didn’t really have nothing to say at first and then later just kind of thinking just kind of disappointed that happened. You know, like Kari said about me being life-changing, just a whole just environment of just guys, and a group of guys just, you know, just to see just kind of the same people as you up here.”

Now that the program is gone, the next step besides having the money for athletics reallocated is still undetermined; and Coach Smith shares his thought about what could happen.

“I think it’s going to impact financially greatly. I don’t know what the school’s plans are as far as having new programs to attract students. I know that that’s one thing that athletics do because kids, women, and men are coming from all over the country to play a sport.”