The President of Arizona Western College announced Thursday that the school is committed to collegiate football in 2018 and 2019, as the community college districts in Maricopa and Pima counties said they will drop football after this season due to budget cuts.
Dr. Daniel Corr said the Matadors football team will play through the 2019 season. This news comes as five fellow schools in the Western States Football League said they will end their programs following this season.
Corr said he spoke with AWC Athletic Director Jerry Smith and Football Coach Tom Minnick to explore options for sustainability for the team. Without the schools in the Phoenix and Tucson areas, the only path forward to sustain the AWC program includes either a reconstruction of the Western States League or membership in another exisiting league, Corr said.
"Out of fairness to the coaches and the student-athletes, I decided to commit now to the 2019 season as we continue to explore our options," Corr told KAWC. "Whether we can find one that allows for sustainability or not, I at least wanted all options to be pursued."
The Matadors have seen success on the field in recent years, playing for national junior college championships. Several former players have moved on to Division 1 college programs and some have made it to the National Football League.
The El Toro Bowl, an annual college football bowl game hosted in Yuma between two junior colleges, will be held following the regular seasons in 2018 and 2019, Corr said.
The Matadors open their season Friday vs. the New Mexico Military Institute at Yuma Catholic High School.
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