Increased prices, not decreased budget forces Gauchos’ baseball to get bang for buck

by Seth Askelson

GLENDALE- The Glendale Community College baseball team is getting a bang for its meager buck.

“Our budget is functional,” head coach Dave Grant said. “It’s not lavish by any means. But by the time we buy baseballs, by the time we buy bats…there’s not much left.”

GCC, a yearly contender in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference, receives an operational budget of nearly $12,000 each year. The team also receives money for a district scholarship for a total of $9,750, which is divided among 30 players, each getting $325.

The operational budget money is used to buy equipment, uniforms and have meal money for each player when the team goes on the road out of county.

The problem the Gauchos run into with scholarships and funding is the funding has not stayed up with the times.

“Things cost more, tuition costs more, and scholarships and budgets have not increased,” Grant said. “So technically we have less money than we used to have, by far. Tuition used to be 35, 40 bucks a credit.”

The Gauchos play in NJCAA’s Division II, meaning they cannot give full tuition scholarships or offer scholarships to out of state recruits. In Division I, teams can offer full tuition, room and board them to recruits outside of their home state.

“I know Yavapai has a very generous allotment (of scholarship money), Central Arizona probably has 24 full scholarships,” Grant said.

While the players do not receive full scholarships, they do qualify for in-state tuition. At GCC, it is $86 per credit hour. For the players, it is a relief compared to university tuition prices.

“At the junior college level, I’d say it’s affordable,” sophomore outfielder Sawyer Treese said. “I can afford to not have a job during baseball season.”

The Gauchos raise money in other ways. Last October, the program took in $4,000 from renting its facility to the Chinese National Team. The team also has a snack bar open during games, and the team collects about $2,000 per season from sales. The money goes towards a variety of expenses.

“Initially, it’s supposed to go towards scholarships,” Grant said. “Then if we have enough for the scholarship we think we need to give out, then we can use it for things like uniforms and bats.”

The Gauchos have one of the top facilities in the conference. They have two lighted batting tunnels and a pristine field that the team maintains. These perks do not come without a cost, and fundraising can help cover these expenses.

“Even on a small scale, there is a level of importance to help get a program like this here at GCC,” assistant coach Jason Stein said.

The Gauchos get through a season without any major financial issues.

“I don’t really think players need to be doing that (fundraising) as much as some other schools do,” Grant said.