First-year athletic director discusses issues

Zak S. Cowan, Editor in Chief

With the football team finishing 4-6 and attendance slowly declining as the season went on, first-year athletic director Ryan Beckwith is pleased with how the other sports have picked up the slack and he’s using a method that hasn’t been utilized at Bakersfield College.

The athletic department has been charging for all sporting events on campus this semester, with the exception of the one wrestling match BC hosted, and that will continue indefinitely, according to Beckwith.

“A lot of [sporting events] haven’t been charging to get in,” Beckwith said.

“This is college athletics. We should be charging to get into these events.”

Sports like swimming, wrestling, both men’s and women’s tennis and both men’s and women’s basketball, that were previously free to get into, will now charge for admission.

“Now obviously the students are free, but outside of our student body, people should pay to get into these games,” said Beckwith. “Now that we’re doing that, we’re making a little bit of money and we’re able to cover our costs, which is great.”

Beckwith’s reason for the change is the bleak economic outlook for the California community college system and the threat of budget cuts to athletic departments around the state.

“With the way [California] community colleges are right now, they’re cutting back so much that the funding that we would typically get from the state could go away at any point,” he said. “So we’re trying to show progressive ways of us saying, ‘hey, you don’t need to cut this or that. We’re making money through our own events,’ which would allow us to have operating costs.”

Despite the new charges to attend, Beckwith is happy with the turnout at events so far in his first semester as head of the athletic department.

“You have to look at the athletic department as a team,” Beckwith said. “Sometimes, your best player goes down and you’ve got to pick up the slack in other areas.”

Beckwith said that the athletic department has done so with strong attendance in sports like volleyball and soccer. He also expects the two basketball teams to do well throughout the year.

“It’s really about the other sports stepping up this year and having a presence themselves,” he said.


Athletics to get new Web site

The athletic department will have a new Web site in the near future.

The site,, has been under construction for the majority of this semester by Willis Design Studios and is expected to be up and running before students come back for the spring semester.

Beckwith is at the forefront of the process and is excited for what the Web site can do for the department.

“If you think about how the world is right now, it’s all social-media driven,” Beckwith said. “Our athletic department is filled with student athletes that are 18-22 and are followed by the people on campus and the student body. So the Web site is everything … and obviously, the one we had wasn’t giving us what we wanted and we received a lot of complaints about it.”

The biggest criticism of the previous Web site, which is still active under Bakersfield College’s Web site, was that it wasn’t updated regularly and there wasn’t a lot of information about the teams themselves.

The new Web site will have detailed bios on the coaching staffs of every sport as well as information about every student athlete.

“Doing an all-inclusive Web site like this and being able to move forward and have something a little more dynamic is huge,” Beckwith said.


Court to be refinished

Beckwith is also currently working on getting the basketball court in the Gil Bishop Sports Center redone.

As of now, the court isn’t up to regulation.

“Right now, we are out of code because we don’t have the [charge] arc which is a new rule that you have to have it,” Beckwith said. “So we have it taped.”

The California Community College Athletic Association has also done away with the women’s three-point line that is still painted on the court.

Beckwith also plans on adding the new logo for the athletic department at center court among other things that he said will “dress up” the floor.

The refinishing process, involving sanding down the floor and painting and staining the wood, will take 10 days according to Beckwith and the funding is close to being finalized and approved.

“It is one of those maintenance things that needs to be done,” Beckwith said.

Beckwith said that he would like the funding to come from a department within the school such as the Alumni Association.

“As of right now, we are working on getting that money going,” he said. “We don’t have a final dollar figure yet, but it’s only going to be a little bit more than what we would normally spend on it.”

When asked whether the refinishing would be complete by the time the spring semester starts, Beckwith said, “It’s likely, but it’s not 100 percent at this point.

“It’s just about taking little steps, and any time you’re in a position to revamp anything … you can’t go out and take out the biggest chunk you can chew,” said Beckwith. “You have to go at it little by little until you build credibility in the program and that’s what we’re trying to do. I want the community to see what we’re doing to make ourselves better before we ever ask for help.”