In 2020, Sinclair’s athletics programs were shut down for health and safety reasons. But now, two years later, there is no clear indication as to whether athletic teams will return to Sinclair.
“Once we suspended athletics it was at a point where we had to take a step back and say: is this what we want to do?” said Phyllis Adams, interim dean for Liberal Arts, Communication, and Social Sciences. A department that includes athletics.
This is a conversation has been ongoing with students, as well as faculty members. Many have doubts that sports teams will return, while others hope that the board of directors and the president will allow a comeback.
But it is currently unclear to those making the decisions what the final word will be, or when they will have the information they need to give a final decision.
“There is a process ongoing right now looking at if we brought athletics back and if we did it right… What would it cost to have the space to maintain it? Once all of the answers to those questions come about, the college will be ready to make that decision,” said Adams.
Still, many people still believe that sports teams provided much needed opportunities to students in the Dayton area.
“We brought access and availability to the Miami Valley for athletes that wanted to pursue academics and couple that with athletics,” said Jeff Price, former athletic director for Sinclair. “We had a high quality education that couldn’t be matched and we were very affordable.”
Unfortunately for Sinclair, this decision is much more complicated than initially thought. There have been concerns raised that question whether the high cost of sports is worth paying.
“If it costs an extreme amount of money, would that money be better spent producing more nurses, engineers, [or] teachers?” said Adams. “We are well connected to the community [and] we are well connected [to] the employers. That’s what the college is trying to balance.”
However, more than just the cost of sports needs to be considered. Many supporters of athletics say that it improved Sinclair as a whole.
“Having athletics brought some enthusiasm on campus,” said Price. A lot of individuals identified with the athletic program.
Just before athletics were shut down, Sinclair did have success on a national level. The Pride had also won several conference championships in baseball, softball, and basketball in recent years.
“I think our teams always did well, so if you’re a student that takes pride in your school that achieves something or does something well you can say ‘oh, our baseball team was number one in the nation,” said Adams.
Sinclair athletes also had a positive affect off the field, outside of the classroom, and in their communities.
“Our student [athletes] also did a lot of great community service work. It’s a great face of the college, it’s enriching to the students, it was a service to the community,” said Adams.
Even with these successes, the college administration will be hesitant to pay the high price to bring athletics back. Especially with the many other programs that Sinclair offers still needing funds.
Jeff Price said multiple times how great Sinclair’s atmosphere was during his 20-year stay at the college. He even mentioned how Sinclair’s theatre department could be a much larger source of pride for students.
“There’s music on campus, there’s a lot of activities that go on on-campus that, I think get overshadowed by [the University of Dayton] and Wright State. Sinclair is the gem of the Miami Valley.”
Even with all this information, the question remains. Will sports return to Sinclair, or will students have to look to other opportunities to foster school pride?