De QUEEN, Ark.—The University of Arkansas Cossatot Community College is a step away from adding women's basketball to its athletic programs.
The Board of Visitors, which is comprised of people who live within the college's district who lend advice, met at UA Cossatot's Lockesburg campus and approved adding women's basketball to the school's sports on Monday.
UA Cossatot's Board of Visitors approved their basketball teams to play in the National Junior College Athletic Association.
These actions will be directed to the Board of Trustees for final approval.
"When dealing with intercollegiate sports, the policy of the University of Arkansas system is that the Board of Trustees has to approve any affiliation with intercollegiate sports," University of Arkansas Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole said.
"I approached our board and now our board wants to move forward and get approval from the University of Arkansas trustees to be affiliated with the NJCAA. We are following policy."
UA Cossatot's first sport programs were men's and women's soccer, which was added in 2014. The men's basketball program began in November of 2018.
"To have a successful college, it has to be well-rounded," Dr. Cole said. "A part of being well-rounded is to have extra curricular things to do. These activities help the students be part of something larger. Due to the support of our community and our students, we felt like the next logical step was to affiliate with the NJCAA. We will have an easier time scheduling games.
"We couldn't be more thankful for those who have supported us. We intend to operate these sports programs without using state dollars. We will rely on the community and philanthropic support; we feel like that is the best way to do it."
The community has shown support by attending games, buying merchandise, sponsoring the radio and attending fundraisers. Individuals and industries have contributed to a UA Cossatot foundation. The foundation is nonprofit organization and helps support the sports teams.
"Our men's basketball team played at the club level and that led to scheduling conflicts," Cole said. "There are already five Arkansas schools that are affiliated with the NJCAA.
"We have students who are interested in playing women's basketball. We actually had some women try out for the men's team. We wanted to make sure that we were all inclusive from the start. Southwest Arkansas has a lot of basketball talent. If the students can stay at home and play a sport they love, if the fans will support it, then I think it's a win-win."