SIGNAL PEAK — Central Arizona College athletic director Chuck Schnoor is not doing well these days.
Schnoor’s response was a stressful one to reports Thursday that the presidents of the Maricopa County Community Colleges are asking the district’s chancellor to cancel all sports for the 2020-21 school year.
If approved, the move would drastically affect CAC as MCCC schools make up half of the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference, leaving CAC, Pima College, Arizona Western, Eastern Arizona, Cochise and Yavapai as the only schools participating in sports.
“Right now the conference has to stay together,” Schnoor said. “Can we still build a schedule? Can we still make it through the year? Yeah we can if we hang together and if we don’t have somebody else drop off like Pima or Yavapai.”
Matthew Hasson, a spokesman for the MCCC district, told the Arizona Republic the recommendation came in response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the state.
In 2018, the Maricopa district voted to eliminate football, which caused Pima College, Eastern Arizona and Arizona Western to subsequently disband their football programs. At the time, there was speculation that the move to get rid of football was the start of a wider move to eventually get rid of all sports.
That speculation was gaining traction on social media Thursday when the news of canceling sports was first being spread.
It’s also a move that Schnoor wondered about as well.
“Initially it was that they dropped sports. OK a year, forever. I kind of saw the writing on the wall when they started with football a couple of years ago,” he said. “They have an opportunity now, and they can use COVID as a reason why or whatever they want to say. It’s really dashing opportunities for young people.”
If approved, the move would eliminate Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, Gateway, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix College, Scottsdale and South Mountain from CAC’s schedule.
Schnoor has been on the phones and having Zoom meetings since he first got word Wednesday night. He said his coaches have also been on the phones trying to redo their schedules.
“Maricopa is kind of leaning this way and I’m really not totally shocked, but it’s as bad (of) timing as you can get with everything going on,” he said. “That’s what it is. We don’t have a solid plan. We have some options such as rebuilding schedules and moving forward.”
Schnoor said CAC has no plans to cancel its athletic season. He added the school is working on trying to put together guidelines for student athletes as they return.
The school doesn’t have a volleyball program, and the only fall sport it has is cross country. But it does field men’s and women’s basketball, as well as baseball and softball, track and field and rodeo programs.
“I always think about the impact of the kid,” Schnoor said. “There’s a lot of opportunities lost. People don’t understand that. I can see where people make the decisions that they do. People who are involved know just how valuable it is.
He added there will be opportunities eliminated for student athletes if sports are canceled entirely.
“We provide an opportunity where a kid can get an education where they may not have had any other avenue,” he said.