The Lady Sharks softball team—the 2010 defending national champions— are waiting for on-field bathrooms, cement dugouts and a new locker room they say they were promised in 2006, according to Head Coach Carlos Caro.
“The request has not been approved. It goes to the MDC board [of trustees] first. If we do it for the women’s softball team then we have to do it for the men’s baseball team as well,” Athletic Director Anthony Fiorenza said. “We have provided them with new uniforms, cleats and media coverage. The dugouts were proposed but because of budget constraints from the governor’s office (the State of Florida) there has not been an approval.”
As a result, many of the softball players and coaches change into their uniforms on the field, or in their cars, according to Caro.
Fiorenza said the College provides facilities for the softball players to use that are 200 feet away from the field, but the girls choose to not use them.
Lady Shark captain Veronika Fukunishi said her main reason for not use those facilities is because of the distance it takes to walk back and forth.
On one occasion during practice Fukunishi needed to use the restroom. It resulted in her having to leave the field. When she returned, she had been replaced by another player.
“Sometimes it does affect our practices,” Fukunishi said. “It made me feel bad for the team having to replace me just to leave and to go to the restroom.”
MDC is the largest community college in the country according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. It is one of the few schools that doesn’t have concrete dugouts or restrooms adjacent to their baseball and softball fields.
For example, Indian River State College has bathrooms in the women’s dugout and public restrooms less than 50 feet away. Broward College has a restroom 10 feet away for their softball team to use.
According to Caro the estimated price needed to build the women’s facility is roughly $80,000.
Kendall Campus Dean of Students Veronica Owles, said academics is the priority, everything else is secondary.
“None of the players have come up to me with these concerns. At this time it’s because of economics,” Owles said. “I find academics a priority first for the college.”
However, the team questions how other colleges in their division, who have not been as successful as they have been, are able to build brand new facilities.
“There is nothing I can say that Mr. Fiorenza has not already mentioned,” Owles said. “We must focus on the positives and what we have right now.”