Española, NM– Northern New Mexico College’s Athletic Program is employing a new model in the upcoming year aimed at increasing overall enrollment and growing programs while also cutting costs.
The model, based on the NCAA’s Hardwick-Daye Study, focuses on enrollment-based sports – those that are cost-effective and rely on students paying their own way – versus financial-based sports in which colleges provide athletics scholarships and have high operating costs.
“We’re not increasing the Athletics budget at all. What we are doing is restructuring,” Northern Director of Athletics Ryan Cordova said.
Northern’s Athletics received an appropriation of $260,000 from the New Mexico Legislature this session, but its institutional budget will remain flat at $110,000.
Much of the funding will go towards growing Northern’s athletic programs, a requirement imposed when the College joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in 2008. The NAIA requires that Northern have six athletics teams by 2014 and eight by 2016 in order to maintain its classification as a Division I school.
Since 2008, the College’s Athletics programs have grown from the original Men and Women’s Basketball teams to include Men and Women’s teams for Cross Country and Golf. Dance and Cheer and Junior Varsity sports will be added this upcoming season.
“When we look for sports to bring to Northern we look at two things: cost to operate and popularity in the area,” Cordova said. “Our existing facilities can accommodate Cheer and JV programs which means we don’t have to build, and it increases visibility for athletics overall.”
Cordova said that requiring teams to fundraise for any travel and equipment expenses in excess of $2,500 is also cutting costs.
There are indicators that athletics is helping to increase enrollment at Northern. Ninety percent of current athletes would not have enrolled at the College if not for athletics, Cordova said. The average GPA of Northern’s athletes is 3.09.
After four women from Shiprock High School signed with the Women’s Basketball Team, Cordova said thirty students from the high school applied to Northern.
Plans for the upcoming season would increase the number of athletes from 56 to 130 and result in revenue of $406,000 for the College from student tuition and fees alone. Expenses for friends and families of athletes visiting the area are estimated to add up to $1,623,000 per year to the local economy.
Cordova said that ultimately, Northern Athletics aims to provide students with an opportunity to play as they pursue their degree. “NNMC isn’t about turning students into professional athletes,” he said. “It’s about using athletics as a means to get an education.”
For more information about NNMC Athletics, contact:
Northern New Mexico College
921 Paseo de Oñate
Española, NM 87532