Washtenaw Community College offers 36 sports-related activities for most of its students, but for those under 18, mainly the Washtenaw Technical Middle College students, sports activities are hard to come by.
“We have an Ultimate Frisbee team,” said WTMC Dean Karl Covert, who estimates that about 10 percent of the WTMC population participates in that activity.
Some people enjoy the Ultimate team and think it’s the perfect sport for students here, but others don’t feel it’s enough.
“I think that although Ultimate is really awesome, we need more sports,” said Travis Anderson, 17, a music major from Ypsilanti.
There have been a few attempts to start sports teams at WTMC. Recently cricket and soccer teams have been brought up.
“I feel like Ultimate Frisbee is not a good replacement for sports here at WTMC,” said liberal arts major Taylor Shaffer, 16, of Ypsilanti. “Some people don’t even realize that the team exists. Others think it’s really nerdy.”
WTMC students are encouraged to participate in the physical fitness classes offered here on campus, such as yoga or dance. Others choose to participate in community club sports.
Monica Cialek, a WTMC base adviser and math instructor, agrees that sports activities are important, but cites a combination of a lack of funds and resources for not having more sports available for the charter school students.
“Sports play is an important developmental part both physically and mentally,” she said. “Sports also build camaraderie and teach conflict resolution.”
But the school has its mission, and it doesn’t include athletics, Covert said.
“Our priority is academics,” he said. “It would be more than just coaches to build a team. It would take time, equipment, fields, transportation and participation in a league for teams to work.”
With WCC’s club sports program, however, a different issue prevents WTMC students from participating.
“The college insurance doesn’t allow for minors to participate, it’s a liability issue,” said Erica Lemm, club sports coordinator.
Meantime, some WTMC students lament what they passed up to attend the school.
“I gave up varsity baseball to do WTMC,” Anderson said.
“Lack of sports here honestly made me not want to come,” Shaffer said. “I even considered transferring to the Early College Alliance program at Eastern because of the access they have to sports.”
“I’d love to have the WTMC students participate,” Lemm said. “They just can’t… It would be nice to see WTMC have sports too.”