Heartland Community College President Allen Goben said the school has no plans to scale back its sports programs as the college moves to reassign athletic director duties. (Photo by Laura Ewan/WJBC)
By Eric Stock
NORMAL - Heartland Community College President Allen Goben said he expects the school's athletic success to continue, even after scrapping the school's athletic director post.
Goben said the school has been spending a disproportionate amount of money on athletics (approximately four to five times what it spends on all other student activities), including tuition wavers for student athletes from outside of Heartland's district.
"The out-of-district athletes are using the in-district taxpayer and student fees that are generated by 5,000 to 6,000 credit students that we usually have in a year. We are basically sub people out of our district to come in," Goben said.
Goben estimated about two-thirds of Heartland student athletes are from outside the district, but he stressed the school's commitment to athletics hasn't wavered.
"We've made no short-range, mid-range or long-range plans to reduce the number of sports, nor have we made any plans to add sports," Goben said.
Heartland has sponsored baseball, softball and men's and women's soccer since 2008.
Goben says the move was prompted by a review of other community college in Illinois. He said Heartland was the only school paying for a full-time AD for only four sports teams.
"It's very uncommon to have a full-time dedicated athletic director whose not doing any other work as part of that position," Goben said.
Goben said Heartland plans to shift money from the vacant AD job to reduce the cost of textbooks, support the child development lab and possibly add more skywalks to improve disability access on campus.