It has been a tough year for community college football in Illinois.
After the boards for Harper College and Joliet Junior College voted to eliminate their football programs, there were a lot of questions surrounding the state of football at COD.
The college decided last year to keep the program for another season and the board of trustees will make a final decision on the future of football at the college this month.
At the Sept. 11 “Pizza with the President” event, Vice President Joe Collins addressed the football team and its future at the college.
Collins cited fiscal issues and its impact on students as the main criteria involved in the evaluation of the football program.
But if these are the only factors affecting the evaluation, the college is completely ignoring the how the program is helping the 138 student athletes on the team.
The Chaparral football team has a record of 7-2 and is ranked 17 in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Poll.
With just one game left on their schedule this season and prospects for playing in a bowl game this year, the season is turning out to be quite a successful one for the Chaps.
This success helps to put the Chaparral football team and its players in the national spotlight.
It will garner more attention as being a top-tier NJCAA football program, making it viable option for players across the nation as they choose where to play college ball.
Also, players currently on the team will be noticed by more college scouts, increasing their chances of playing football for or simply transferring to four year colleges and universities.
If the college decides to cut the football program, it will be denying student-athletes this experience.
Seeing as COD is the only community college in the state of Illinois with a football team, there is even more riding on this decision.
Players like cornerback Marquette Privott have already experienced first-hand the effects of an NJCAA football program getting cut.
Privott had to transfer to COD after Harper College, the school he attended last year, cut its football team.
After this year, Privott will likely move on to play Division I ball at university, but there are several other players just like him throughout the area.
Over 70 percent of the players on the Chaps’ roster are from Illinois.
Had there been no team at the college, these players would have limited options and many of them never would have had the opportunity to play in college.
College of DuPage is not the traditional venue for college football.
There is no marching band that plays the school fight song after every touchdown, nor is there is no die-hard student section that attends every game with their bodies painted in team colors.
But what the college does have is a group of student-athletes who have come here from around the country in hopes that the school can lead them to the next step in their lives.