Frank Phillips College suspends men’s golf program

During the May FPC Board of Regents meeting, FPC President Dr. Jud Hicks told the board that the college has decided to suspend the Plainsmen Golf program starting this fall.This spring, the FPC Golf program was placed on probation by the NJCAA for exceeding the number of scholarships provided to non-U.S. resident students and number of athletes being provided with financial aid.In talking with Dr. Hicks on Tuesday morning, the college had learned back in December that the golf program had exceeded both numbers, leading the college to turn themselves into the NJCAA.As a result of the violations, the FPC Golf program was banned from post-season play for two years, starting this past spring, and would be limited to giving just four scholarships per year with non-U.S. resident students ineligible for scholarships for the next two years.Dr. Hicks explained that each sport within the NJCAA has different rules regarding the number of non-U.S. residents a team can have on scholarships competing. For golf, the number is limited to just two non-U.S. residents, with the FPC program having 10 foreign players listed on its roster going into this spring.The program was also allowed to provide eight golfers with athletic financial aid, with the college reporting to the NJCCA that the program had exceeded that number by six in providing 14 scholarships for the 2010-11 school year.Dr. Hicks added the what made the situation a little complicated was for over five years, the college has been able to have a fee waiver program for the Stevens and Goins dormitories where a student can live in the dorms free for a semester as long as they purchased a meal plan. However, the Tyler Street dormitory is classified as a paying facility that would require a student to pay or be on scholarship in order to be able to live there.Since the members of the golf team were living in the Tyler Street dormitory, the members of the team were not eligible for the waiver program, leading to the team members to be considered living in the dorm on scholarship, causing the golf program to exceed the eligibility rules of the NJCAA.What makes the issue tricky to Dr. Hicks is if the golfers were living in the other dorms, then the issues with the NJCAA would probably not have come up.With the dismissal of John Green as FPC Athletic Director earlier in the semester, the college has been without a golf coach this spring, leading FPC Women’s Head Basketball Coach Eric Rodewald stepping in to lead the team throughout the remainder of the Spring 2011 schedule.With members of the golf program informing Dr. Hicks that they had no intention to return to the college this fall, it led Dr. Hicks to determine that the best course of action right now would be to suspend the program.On the decision, Dr. Hicks said, “One of the big draws for many of these players to join the golf program was knowing they would have the opportunity to take part in post-season play. With that not available and with the limited number of scholarships we can provide, it led to the tough decision of suspending the program.”Dr. Hicks didn’t close the door of having the program reinstated at some point in the future, but for now the college president didn’t give a time table for when the golf program would return.The FPC Golf program began play in the fall of 2006. Over the past five years, the program has enjoyed success in the classroom and golf course by being named the 2010 Academic Team of the Year and reaching the NJCAA National Tournament from 2007-2010.