Inexperience and lack of local talent, combined with a program that refuses to recruit out-of-state athletes has created an unwinnable environment for competent Glendale coaches.
Most teams can no longer compete with large district schools that actively scout players from around the country.
As a result, football, volleyball, and soccer have collectively lost more than 80 percent of their games this season.
“Our philosophy is that we’re not going to recruit out-of-state athletes,” said John Cicuto, athletic director. “You’re taking opportunities away from your local schools that you’ve been recruiting for years.”
An unsuccessful sports program can affect more than just the locker room. Once a school builds a reputation for failure, talented players may show less interest, forcing coaches to get creative with their recruitment techniques.
“Our academic reputation is one of the top five in the state, so we push that,” said Cicuto. “We look for good kids where school is their priority.”
Academic success is undoubtedly important, however schools are less likely to scout players from failed teams, narrowing players transfer options to less prestigious universities.
Star athletes will always get attention, but schools that can build a successful team around those stars and create notoriety for their overlooked players ultimately provide the best service. This is where Glendale fails its students most.
Football and men’s soccer are ranked the worst teams in their divisions, followed closely by volleyball which is still in a tight race with West L.A. College for last place. The women’s soccer players are the standout performers, who despite winning zero games, have managed to lose less than Bakersfield and L.A. Valley.
So where do we go from here?
Loyalty to the community is a good thing, but if the team stinks, who cares?
The community has forgotten about Glendale College. Families are embarrassed to send their children here and visiting crowds vocally dominate our football bleachers which are packed to standing room also capacity.
“It’s very difficult to recruit at GCC because its hard to get classes and parents think it’s a downgrade for their kids,” said golf Head Coach Greg Osbourne.
As of now Glendale can acquire out-of-state athletes but the students must make first contact, forcing coaches to wait around their phones like lovesick teenagers.
If the college truly wants to offer student athletes their best possible future, they need to recruit out-of-state and create athletic scholarships. If regulated properly, Glendale College would instantly become a more attractive institution to athletes.
Here’s a proposal, Glendale can limit one athletic scholarship per team and one out-of-state player for every 10 in-state players for each sports program. (Teams with less than 10 players will still receive one recruit.)
The percentages will keep a fair balance among large and small sports. Football, for example, has a much larger roster than golf. Small programs already seem to retain more sophomores each year, and while they could still receive one out-of-state recruitment, they may not even need it.
“The main criteria of success is that you have a nucleus of sophomores coming back,” said Cicuto.
All sports would be allowed to recruit outside of California, however those recruited would make up only 10 percent of the total players, which should be just enough to keep the local feel but still impact the outcome of the games. The scholarships which could be paid for by the revenue generated from the out-of-state recruits could be awarded to any athlete at the coach’s discretion.
This is not a be-all end-all of recruitment strategies, but if Glendale would take advantage of the same opportunities as its competitors it could at least create a level playing field.
Some may counter that there are still very successful sports programs at GCC. Which is true. Men and women’s golf, track, cross country, baseball, and softball are all highly competitive and often win.
However, success should be expected from all teams, and better recruiting options can only improve our better squads.
Cicuto, who spent 33 years coaching football at Glendale has a motto that “winning breeds winning.”
If teams can recruit good talent and keep an abundance of sophomores, they should win games, which will attract better athletes and breed success for future generations of Glendale athletes.