- Associated Press - Friday, October 21, 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - An athletic conference composed of 19 Kansas community colleges has dropped a rule adopted during the desegregation era to limit out-of-state players on basketball and football teams.

The Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference announced Thursday that it changed the rule after eight schools threatened to leave, The Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/2dtKoo9 ) reports.

Under the change, which will take effect next school year, the conference will allow its schools to compete at the Division I or Division II level in the National Junior College Athletic Association. It will also follow NJCAA roster limits for all sports, ending any out-of-state and roster limitations.

Current Jayhawk rules limit football programs to 63 scholarships, while NJCAA rules allow 85. Jayhawk schools were limited to 20 out-of-state scholarship players.

Opponents of limitations argued that they discriminated against the mostly black out-of-state players. But supporters contended that the rule protected opportunities for Kansas students, boosting their chances of getting a college education on athletic scholarships.

“I think calmer heads prevailed and we got some very positive dialogue here,” Jayhawk president Mike Calvert said after Thursday’s meeting. “Of course not everyone is going to be 100 percent pleased. We still have work to do, but I know everyone is pleased we’re going to be moving forward together as a conference.”

Another bylaw change beginning with the 2018-19 season will allow schools to grant full-ride scholarships in Division I sports. That change will require a new bylaw to be passed at the spring KJCC meeting in April 2017; if one isn’t passed, the rule will revert to the previous scholarship limits beginning in 2020.

Calvert said scholarship funds for out-of-state players must be privately raised by either booster clubs or foundations, and they wouldn’t take from the money for Kansas scholarships.

“We’re not taking any money away from Kansas kids,” Calvert said. “So if a school wants to go with more out-of-state players and give bigger scholarships, then that just means they’re going to have to raise more money or else that’s going to limit the number of out-of-state kids you bring in.”

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com


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