Southeastern Illinois College Re-engineers Extra-Curriculars

February 8, 2021

Southeastern Illinois College has implemented a multifaceted extra-curricular re-engineering plan to increase enrollment and improve finances while ultimately emphasizing local community appeal in college extra-curriculars.

The college recently implemented an esports team per an extensive feasibility study. Esports teams are growing and college officials believe it should be a strong recruiting opportunity.

“We expect this to bring in significant enrollment and growth in our 36-month test period,” said Executive Dean of Student Services Dr. Chad Flannery.

Coaches Jason Fitzgerald and Andrew Dunaway are already recruiting for fall, boasting a newly renovated game arena in a prime location in the student center complex.

The college also has informed the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) about the decision to drop women’s basketball and add women’s volleyball.

“The rise of competitive volleyball in our area allows us to keep talented student athletes closer to home and still allows them to be able to play a sport they love at a high level,” said Athletic Director Jeremy Irlbeck.

Men’s basketball will continue but switch from the NJCAA to the National Club Basketball Association (NCBBA), the fastest growing intercollegiate club basketball league in the U.S.

College officials said they hope to retain more local basketball students who want to further both their education as well as their love of the sport. Recruiting will focus on local and regional players.

Many Kentucky community colleges that have basketball have moved to this,” said Flannery. “As for being non-NJCAA, SIC’s Falcon Bowlers is a successful model as players bowl with the U.S. Bowling Congress (USBC) rather than NJCAA. The NCBBA is larger, less restrictive, and less costly than NJCAA.”

Irlbeck added that the addition of men’s golf will help balance equity with NJCAA sports and have a lot of local popular appeal. He hopes to recruit local talent.

“Golf is a very popular sport that can be a lifelong activity. The rise in local high school athletes participating at a high level is a great opportunity for SIC to keep students closer to home and competing in a sport they love,” said Irlbeck. “We hope to have volleyball and golf begin this fall.”

Finally, the popular theater program at SIC will expand its offerings to a competitive venue.

“There are competitive theater organizations out there that require some travel and provide some great exposure to universities,” said Executive Dean of Academic Services Dr. Tyler Billman. “Reader’s Theater is yet another outlet in which our students can express and explore their theatrical talents here at SIC.”

According to SIC theater instructor Gareth York, Readers Theater is a competitive acting event in which the performers present dramatic readings of material without costumes, props, scenery, or special lighting.

“It’s a way for our theater students to get critiques and awards for their skills,” said York. “This type of performance will also be a great recruitment tool to take to district schools for showing students other ways to compete for Southeastern.”

College President Dr. Jonah Rice said that community colleges across the country are reinventing themselves as they follow both enrollment trend data and also financial realities.

“We’re going to be able to provide more opportunities for more students in a more efficient model,” said Rice. “Ultimately, we are focusing on community appeal in this restructuring.”