By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
Want more top stories? Sign up here for daily or weekly newsletters with our top news.
Every year, the school’s teams lose players to graduation and then work in the offseason to replace them with a new batch of two-year players.
So, what’s in it for the athletes?
Well, it depends on the player.
According to Pirates athletic director Rick Ross, the maximum the NWAACC allows the school to offer student-athletes is two-thirds the cost of tuition and an on-campus job, which Ross said can cover the other third.
However, under NWAACC rules, Peninsula only has a total of 38 grants-in-aid, or scholarships, and jobs — 11 each for the men’s and women’s soccer teams and eight each for the women’s and men’s basketball teams.
Each of the four rosters has more players than the team has grants and jobs to give, so the grants and jobs must be divided.
It’s up to the coaches to decide how much each athlete receives, whether it be a full or a partial grant.
“I would say it’s definitely based on their evaluation of the player,” Ross said.
“The higher the amount, the better the player.”
There also is a bit of a game to it for the coaches.
If there is a lot of competition for a player — as there likely was for Bremerton’s Deonte Dixon, who recently signed to play for the Peninsula men’s basketball team — a coach likely will need to, in a sense, out-bid the other interested NWAACC coaches by offering a larger portion of athletic aid or the full amount allowed by the conference.
Some students-athletes also qualify for financial aid from the federal government, which can cover part of their tuition costs.
Ross said the on-campus jobs also can be divvied up among athletes.
One example of an on-campus job Peninsula athletes are given is staffing basketball home games, as the women’s soccer team does.
Their tasks include operating the scoreboard, video equipment and shot clock. This ends up being a five-hour work shift.
Every athlete is required to take at least 12 credits per quarter to remain eligible.
According to the tuition rates listed on Peninsula College’s website, 12 credits cost $1,232.38 for a Washington resident and $1,363.76 for a non-Washington U.S. resident. (See the tuition rates at www.tinyurl.com/pdnPCtuition.)
For international students — the men’s and women’s soccer teams have many players from countries such as Brazil and Australia — it’s an entirely different scenario.
“We can’t offer them anything,” Ross said.
International students must have a student visa and work through Peninsula College’s international program to attend the school.
They can’t receive athletic aid and they aren’t eligible for federal aid.
They also must show they have a certain amount of money that will allow them to afford to obtain a student visa and relocate to Port Angeles.
Essentially, they are walk-ons.
If they are interested in playing sports at Peninsula College, they must contact the coach of their specific sport and then tryout.
These international rules do no apply to student-athletes from British Columbia, which is part of the NWAACC’s permitted recruiting area along with Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Hawaii. (NWAACC coaches cannot make the initial contact with student-athletes from outside this recruiting area.)
The cost for 12 credit hours for international students is $2,962.40.
On top of the tuition is the cost of living away from home, which Ross said averages between $8,000 and $10,000 per year.
With those living costs, it makes sense that Peninsula College would have more athletes from nearby high schools, such as Port Angeles and Sequim.
However, this past school year there were only two student-athletes from the North Olympic Peninsula playing at Peninsula College: Women’s basketball player Alison Knowles and women’s soccer player Paxton Rodocker, both of whom graduated from Port Angeles High School.
Ross said many student-athletes have lived in their hometown for up to 18 years and prefer to go elsewhere after high school.
“One things we have struggled with is we have a tough time keeping the top local kids,” Ross said.
“That always has been a struggled.
“There’s a perception in the community that we don’t recruit local kids, but that’s definitely not true.”
Ross then concedes that the recent success of the school’s soccer programs, both of which have won back-to-back NWAACC championships, has elevated the talent levels on those teams, making it more difficult for athletes from the area to play soccer for the Pirates.
Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.