Badgers versus Hornets


With the proposed unification of Johnson State College and Lyndon State College, there are numerous concerns and questions throughout both institutions. Among the most common is what will happen to the schools’ athletic departments, both of which reside and compete in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC).

According to the NCAA, “The primary area of importance is that while both campuses share one accreditation, president and board, the campuses operate completely separate athletic administrations and budgets.”

This precedent has been set by several schools around the nation, like St. Joseph’s College, which has locations in both Brooklyn and Patchogue existing as one institution but two athletic programs.
Regardless of previous examples, the situation is still fraught with apprehension from the communities of JSC and LSC because no one truly knows what to expect.

JSC Head Athletics Director Jamey Ventura views the merger as a net positive for both athletic programs. “At the moment, I don’t see a downside to it,” he said. “Overall, there will be one institutional budget, but both athletic departments will have their own budgets. This can potentially provide us with the opportunity to utilize bulk purchasing of athletic supplies, and perhaps work on getting a better transportation deal from the bus companies.”

With both schools competing within the Vermont and the NAC, one would think that recruitment of the same student-athletes could also be an issue caused by the merger, but Ventura disagrees. “We were already going for the same recruits, so nothing changes there,” he said.

In fact, the biggest potential change would be out-of-state recruitment. “If the new name of the schools has Vermont in the title, it is really going to help us because Vermont is a destination spot,” Ventura said. “When we recruit from other states and say Johnson State College, most people don’t know where it is.”

In regard to the situation of JSC versus LSC, the one person who may be the most conflicted is President Elaine Collins, who, one year into her job at JSC, will be asked to take control of both institutions, and must remain impartial in her allegiance at competing sporting events.

“It will be difficult, but the good news is it will never feel like a loss,” Collins said. “Someone suggested I should sit on one side of the stands for the first half of a game, and on the other side for the second half.”

Meanwhile, Ventura offers his own solution on Collins’ dilemma. “Maybe we will have to get her a jersey that is one half JSC and one half LSC and she can sit at half court or midfield,” he said.

Collins echoes Ventura’s positive sentiments about the unification’s impact on the schools’ sports. “I see our two schools as complimentary rather than competitive,” she said. “Both have unique offerings that will help in recruitment.”

Another growing concern among the populous is how endowments will be managed. “[JSC] is a very old and historical institution that has had many people donate to it over time,” said Collins. “It all needs to remain intact. Later on, there is the potential for joint endowments and-or donors, but, at this point, each school plans to move forward as initially planned.”