Make no mistake, Santa Barbara is a tennis community. From hundreds of enthusiastic Patrons every year, consistently competitive high school programs for boys and girls, to nationally ranked collegiate programs that bring the best and brightest local and international player students to want to play here.
However, one true standout program in the last 50 years has been the men’s tennis program at Santa Barbara City College. It has allowed many of our local finest to play intercollegiate tennis while getting a great education as they bridge to four-year institutions, meeting their career ambitions.
But the last several years have not shown the quality and successes consistently demonstrated since coach Jack Sanford retired. As such, through the recommendation of staff and approved by the SBCC Board of Trustees, the men’s tennis program was eliminated for this upcoming 2014 year.
SBCC President Lori Gaskin says the college used retention, graduation and transfer rates to determine academic success for student-athletes, documenting since 2009 that students on the men’s tennis team have some of the lowest stats compared to the school’s other programs. It’s not surprising that when you have a self-fulfilling prophecy, focusing on everything other than how to continue the rich history and successes of student athletes, it’s easier to understand how the Board of Trustees saw little ROI versus other academic needs.
The tennis community has and will continue to support this rewarding tennis program and is trying desperately to get the Board of Trustees to revisit this uninformed decision in order to reinstate men’s intercollegiate tennis.
Student athletes are getting fewer and fewer opportunities to enrich their lives when great programs such as tennis are eliminated from the equation. It’s not just a sport, it develops character, ethics, a better moral compass, teamwork, grit and competitive prowess — all successful career skill traits.
Please show your interest by sending a note to the Board of Trustees asking to keep this treasured resource that very much contributes to the richness of our lives. Letters can be sent to the SBCC Board of Trustees, Santa Barbara City College, 721 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara 93109.
Michael W. Rattray