Physical education requirement back on table

By Jenna Husic, Advocate Staff

The decision to remove four educational requirements students are obligated to complete prior to earning an associate degree from Contra Costa College passed in a near-unanimous vote by the Academic Senate in December 2016.

A physical education course requirement was on that list.

All associate degrees at Contra Costa College used to require 2 units of physical education activity classes as a general education (GE) requirement.

According to Academic Senate President Beth Goehring, participating in these classes benefited each student’s health and reduced their stress and anxiety levels.

Since the process of re-furbishing the physical education/athletics facilities on campus is underway, the Academic Senate is revisiting the possibility of bringing back the requirement for those PE and health courses.

The meetings are ongoing and both Goehring and kinesiology department Chairperson Miguel Johnson continue to advocate for students’ rights to a better and healthier life through their education.

They say they are also searching for more funding for the college and their fellow faculty members.

Johnson said not only did the PE course requirement benefit students, it helped funnel money to the college from the state due to the full-time equivalent student (FTES) funding formula. This also helped other CCC departments with funding and resources.

Also, he said, now student-athletes don’t have the luxury of being able to take multiple PE classes because of the rules that do not allow for the repetition of PE activity classes that were enacted in the early 2010s.

However, those one and two credit courses could be the difference in thousands of dollars for the college. According to Johnson, statistics show how financially lucrative the classes can be for the college.

When former football coach Alonzo Carter had a team of 100 players, each student was required to enroll in 12 units to remain eligible according to NCAA rules. At $46 per credit for a 2-credit PE course, that would be nearly $10,000 generated by the football team alone for enrollment in one physical education course, Johnson said.

Furthermore, according to their pass rate for each semester, each student generated about $5,000 and all 100 were enrolled in PE classes and passed a majority of their credits, he said.

That is $500,000 that gets granted to the college for other services outside of sports or PE, such as lab equipment for science classes or more staff for the disability center, Johnson said.

CCC athletic trainer Nicole Oaks said that with certain physical education classes being available to students, many have the option to not only expand their majors and degrees, but also learn the importance of different exercises.

“Not only did I learn Pilates and powerlifting at (San Diego State University), but I discovered how much I love yoga, which has helped me throughout my life,” Oaks said.

She also believes that students benefit more from those PE classes outside of just exercise.