Alumni lace up in effort to save track team at Johnson County Community College

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- As of this school year, Johnson County Community College doesn't have a track or cross country team anymore. The school's outdoor track will be torn out in early fall. The college says the changes are the result of new facilities master plan.

As the demolition moves closer, a group of track alumni are strengthening their efforts to reinstate the program.

In March 2017, JCCC's Board of Trustees announced the 2017-2018 track season would be the last. JCCC spokesperson Chris Gray told  FOX4 in a statement that reads in part, "While it is unfortunate and something you never want to do is discontinue a program rather it be athletic, academic, club or organization; decisions must be made."

Gray went on to say that there were just 50 students in the track and cross country program, and that played a role in the decision making process.

According to Gray, the school is not considering reinstating the discontinued programs, despite the outcry from some alumni.  The track will be removed early this fall. But the school's hard stance on the track isn't stopping the Save JCCC Track group. The group is made up of alumni who say the program gave them great academic and athletic opportunities. They want everyone to have the same chances they did. They say they'll keep speaking out, regardless of the school's decision.

"It matters," Brian Batliner, a former JCCC student athlete on the track team said. "And it matters to a lot of people. All over this community. All over this country. This sport, what we were taught to do here at this college through these programs was persevere and endure. And that`s exactly what we are doing. Standing up for something we believe matters in our community."

Once the track is removed, it will make way for a new softball field and soccer facilities.