“You just can't pull the plug on something,” said Pima football head coach Jim Monaco.
At a public forum at PCC district offices, public figures and members of the community shared impassioned speeches about why Pima football must stay.
“In all honesty, we're not sure if Maricopa folds completely, or they keep a couple of teams,” said Monaco.
Challenges facing the program include long-term sustainability, the possibility of a four-team league, and surprisingly the concussion conversation and it's liability.
“Just heard about it last week,” a surprised coach Monaco said.
Pima uses the best technology to help mitigate these liabilities. But insurance companies are considering not ensuring programs because of the growing concern of CTE, and the long-term effects on the brain.
“The insurance is what Maricopa complained about many times. We cut it by 24% two years ago,” says Monaco.
Football is a third of the athletics budget for Pima, and the board says most of these issues can be solved with enrollment. “It's time to let everyone in on the secret about what a great program we have,” said Ali Farhang, a Salpointe assistant coach, attorney, and chairman for the Arizona Bowl.
But head coach Monaco was not optimistic. “This to me sounded like you got a death sentence from a disease instead of how do you beat it.”
Realistically, Pima's conference is waiting for them.
There is no timetable for a decision as of now for Pima football.