Thunderbirds Football Closes its Final Season

Mesa celebrates after a touchdown during Sept.22 game against Arizona Western Matadors. Photo by Aaron Webster

The Mesa Community College (MCC) football program had its last game of the 2018 season last Saturday against the Phoenix College Bears. They ended the season with a great effort winning by more than 20 points.

With a record of 4-5 they were unable to make the Valley of the Sun Bowl. That goes to the team who wins the conference and that is Scottsdale Community College. We lost to the Fighting Artichokes twice this season.

They were hoping to go to the bowl game for the third time straight this year. That would have been only the third time a team in the conference has been able to go three times in a row.

Another thing that loomed over the program this season is that the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) has chosen to remove football in the entire Phoenix Valley.

MCCCD has named heavy financial burden due to high insurance cost as the reason for removing the programs. The awareness of head injuries are the speculation to insurance rate hikes.

The opposing side of the argument is that football is safer than it has ever been and usually a football program creates the most opportunity for athletes to move on each year. However, the decision has been made and it does not appear that it will be reversed.

There was some hope with elections that four football supporters could be elected into the MCCCD Governing board in the past Mid-term elections. This would have shifted the balance on keeping football at school. However only two of the four were elected and it does not appear that this will be enough to help the sport.


Thunderbirds defense preparing to make stop versus Phoenix college on Nov. 9.
Photo: Stephen Peck/ MesaCC Legend


The MCC football program has been able to have success helping there athletes move on to a University. About 8.5 million dollars of scholarships have been handed out to 141 of the previous athletes that attended here in the past six seasons. According to head coach Ryan Felker that’s the goal.

“To get these kids graduated and find them a new home and make sure they are taken care of because we brought them here for a reason. That’s to help them grow as young men and at the end of the day get their education payed for,” said Felker.

Felker believes the human growth and development, or what he likes to call “human capital”, was not considered near enough in this process.

MCC has had a lot of success with their football program on and off the field and it will be unfortunate for the athletes that will lose these opportunities for free education.

So goodbye football and thank you for all you have done. You will be missed by many of the students, alumni, and to the fans and supporters of the program.

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