With the NCAA steamrolling the market for collegiate sports, it is up to community colleges and programs such as Valley to make their successes more relevant.
Opinion By Benjamin Royer, Valley Life Editor
Fancy cars and thousand-dollar deals have become the regular for top-level NCAA athletes with name, image and likeness now allowed. Community college athletes deserve a chance at the same, starting with some well-deserved attention and respect.
When Baylor University won NCAA March Madness in the spring, a campus-wide celebration followed with students enjoying a well deserved distraction from the chaos that was 2020. Flip the script and just the opposite took place. In the community college world, teams did not hit the pool, field and court for a game, creating a bizzaro world watching from home as their same age group competed on the grandest stage of collegiate sports. Community college is a much different environment compared to the glory of Division I, but when it is all said and done, the athletes get much less out of the experience than their higher-level counterparts. Valley College needs to make fan experiences accessible and promote their players just as much as Division I schools do.
The first step that should be taken is the marketing and promotion of the players.
A way to present in a modern way would be to treat the community college student-athletes like the rockstars they are. For example, at UCLA, Athletic Director Martin Jarmond preaches student athletes’ successes constantly - posting videos, photos and press releases about the players.
Valley Athletic Director Dave Mallas could do the same in the public eye. Getting the student population excited about their teams just by speaking admirably about the athletes could be just what is needed to rejuvenate Valley’s sports programs. It is certainly a possibility that this is happening, but a walk through campus will show that there is zero promotion of the sports teams and when they play.
Another leap in the right direction would be an online presence. On the Monarchs’ sports team’s websites, rosters are not accurately updated and what is presented is a 90’s style design that pushes people away who visit from the web.
The athletics Twitter is inactive, only carrying info about occasional results that Valley achieves. There is a dire need to develop a social media presence.
This is something that women’s basketball does well. With over 1,000 followers on Instagram and making TikTok videos that keep with modern trends, they are doing seemingly everything right on that end. The other programs need to take a page out of Coach Monica Hang and her staff’s book.
To accomplish social media activity and revitalize communication with the student body, the Athletics Department needs to hire a full-time director of communications to control this aspect of sports.
This position would allow for someone to push Valley in the right direction towards their community college counterparts and even past where other programs lie.
Valley can become a community college juggernaut. There is so much firepower within the Valley Glen area, but the potential is still untapped.
The time is now to make the proper adjustments.