With approximately 30 percent of the student body involved in athletics, the Ellsworth Community College coaches, faculty and administration are highly focused on the success of student-athletes.
In particular, football players who transfer to a four-year college or university often leave after the fall term of their sophomore year so they can participate in spring training at their transfer institution … leaving them one semester's worth of credits short of completing their Associate degree at Ellsworth. ECC's new summer football academic program, which launches in June, will ensure that those student-athletes get off to a strong start and help them to complete their ECC degree after their third semester, if necessary.
Depending on the success of the new summer program, it may be expanded to include student-athletes from other sports in subsequent years.
"This new summer program will help our student-athletes greatly by first getting them off to a strong academic start here, and second helping them to complete their Associate degree prior to transferring elsewhere to continue their playing careers," says Nate Forsyth, ECC Director of Athletics & Student Life. "The students arrive on campus June 8 and will be in classrooms through June 28, combining classroom time with work through our online Learning Management System. Students will be able to complete up to 9 credits depending on the class load they choose and their placement scores. From 7 am to lights out we'll have them in a highly structured program including classwork, weight training, study tables, and a Strategies for Success program. We're absolutely convinced that this will be a huge benefit to our student-athletes, also making them more marketable if they work hard enough to continue their playing careers at a baccalaureate institution after they leave ECC."
The summer football program has been in the planning stages for more than a year, but coaching turnovers made it challenging to implement. ECC Head Football Coach Jesse Montalto says this new program was one of the reasons he chose to accept the position at Ellsworth.
"I know from past coaching experience that this is exactly the kind of strong start that most players need and want," says Coach Montalto. "In the transition from high school to college it's common for some student-athletes to underestimate the amount of time and effort it will take to be successful both in the classroom and on the field. This program will provide a strong start to their classroom experience, and the coaching staff will ensure that they also gain a clear understanding of how to be successful in all other areas of their college life. It's just a great, great way to begin the Panther football experience!"
Forsyth said the College expects 45-50 football players to participate in the new summer academic program.