Athletics dept. values education

Andrew Millan
Mesa Legend

The Athletic department at MCC does its best to set up student athletes for success by helping them commit to their education and complete their degree. With 16 different sports to choose from, and 339 official student athletes, MCC has helped thousands of students achieve their goal of playing a sport at the collegiate level.  John Mulhern, athletic director at MCC for five years, works every day to help student athletes stay on track with their education and still compete at a high level for the school. “The top recruiters for universities don’t ask athletes about their commitment level to the sport, they will ask to see their transcript,” Mulhern said.

“So when I see a student I don’t ask them if they went to class or not, I ask them if they sat in the front row, if they turned their phones off and actually were engaged for the hour,” Mulhern continued. “We have three to four grade checks every semester for the student. If they have a C- or below, it’s mandatory study hall for them instead of practice. Our number one goal is for students to always be committed to their education,” Mulhern said. When it comes to recruiting and scholarships, MCC can give out 296 scholarships worth $325 each.  Each sport has a set amount of scholarships the coach can hand out at their own discretion.

“Let’s say a coach really wants a player, he can give him as many scholarships as he wants worth that $325 and the student can only use it for tuition fees and books,” Mulhern said. “Most of the recruiting is done in state as well. We are not able to offer scholarships to out of state athletes,” Mulhern said. In Arizona, for junior colleges, a student has two years of eligibility and there is no age limit, the only requirement is that you need to be enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester.
“We had at one time a women’s tennis player who graduated ASU with her master’s, went to work for the FBI for 15 years, then came back to MCC to play tennis for us,” explained Mulhern.

For student athletes Mackenzie Brown and Austin Rios, playing college soccer has been a pleasant experience for them.  “I really like playing college soccer, I actually want to wake up in the morning and come to school and practice with my team,” Brown said.  “I miss it. I wish our season was longer, I still play club but it’s not the same, the level is so much different,” Rios said. For Rios and Brown, it is not difficult for them to balance out going to school full-time and playing a sport. “When you’re playing a sport it’s easier with your grades because you have to keep up with them in order to play and keep your scholarship if you have one,” said Brown.  “Sometimes it does get stressful but hanging out with your friends and teammates can help ease your mind,” she continued.

“From playing at such a young age, you grew up balancing both school and soccer. It’s just habit now. You don’t even have to think about it,” Rios said Rios does believe that the department sets the students up for success.“With our athletic advisers, they definitely take care of us and help us commit to the next step of our career,” said Rios. “I am happy to be a part of this program.”

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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