Football & Allen Have Long History


Allen County Community College Yearbook, 1952

Allen Community College last had a football team in 1952.

RJay McCoy, Sports Editor

The Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference has a rich tradition of football with teams from the conference contending at the top every year. Schools like Garden City, Butler, Dodge City, Hutchinson, Coffeyville, Fort Scott and Independence community colleges have vied for top honors in recent years.

Allen Community College, for most of its existence, has been left out. The Red Devils have not fielded a football team since the draft of soldiers in 1952 for the Korean War. That has left Allen football-less for 67 years.

Students look for reasons to come to Allen and the great attractions the college has, but football is missing here in attracting students to give them something to do on fall Saturdays.

“I think it would be beneficial to the college, but you must spend money to make money,” said freshman Lexy Turntine, the Student Senate vice president at the college, about the prospects of Allen one day sporting a gridiron squad.

John Masterson, the president of the college, was the athletic director in 1990 and was tasked to juggle some numbers for  starting a football team at Allen.

With the addition of a football team, additional housing would need to be built, which would cost in the millions.

— President John Masterson

“In 1952 football here at the college ended because young men were needed for the war, and the funding for the program was not there,” said Masterson of the decision then to end the program.

Masterson listed a few things that would need to be done before a football team would be able to play.

Facilities would need to be built, such as a practice field on campus as well as offices and facilities in the existing activities building and gymnasium. Coaches would also have to be hired.

“With the addition of a football team, additional housing would need to be built, which would cost in the millions,” said Masterson. More scholarships would need to be acquired, with a community college football team being allowed up to 85 athletic scholarships.

Transportation would be a key factor, as on average two buses would need to be taken on road trips and drivers would be needed. Equipment like high tech helmets and body gear would also be needed to protect athletes from injury .

THE NETFLIX series Last Chance U highlighted Independence Community College football program and coach Jason Brown giving student-athletes a second chance. The series showed the college doing everything for their football program to thrive. One fact was the discontinuation of its baseball program in the 2018-2019 school year.

Many colleges around the conference use the local high school field for games, although Butler Community College built a brand new $12 million-dollar stadium for football.

Masterson also noted the number of out-of-state athletes that are recruited for competitive football programs in Kansas.

“In 2017 the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference took restrictions off the amount of Kansas kids needed to be fielded on a roster. That year there were approximately 80 Kansas kids on KJCCC football rosters, compared to 300 the year before,” said Masterson.

Football seems to be relegated to only a dream for Allen, given the financial realities of today.