Group protests over Maricopa County Community Colleges' plan to cut football programs

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Protesters want Maricopa County Community Colleges to keep their football programs. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Protesters want Maricopa County Community Colleges to keep their football programs. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
People who oppose the cuts say that the football programs are a launching pad for young players who aren't quite ready to play Division I football right after high school. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) People who oppose the cuts say that the football programs are a launching pad for young players who aren't quite ready to play Division I football right after high school. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
They also packed a MCCC meeting. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) They also packed a MCCC meeting. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Families, athletes and coaches protested Maricopa County Community Colleges after their decision to eliminate the football programs at their schools Tuesday evening in Tempe. 

"They're taking away precious opportunities that we need," said Alex Maza, who plays for Scottsdale Community College. "I'm able to pursue a degree and I'm also chasing other scholarships that I was not able to get from high school."

Dozens stood outside of the MCCCD's office, located near 52nd Street and Broadway Road in Tempe, to speak out against the cuts. 

Back on Feb. 5, the Maricopa County Community College District announced that it will eliminate football after the upcoming 2018 season as an "MCCCD sponsored sport."

Maricopa County Community College District says the football programs were too costly and that it would take more than $20 million to keep the football fields and facilities in good shape.

Rich Wellbrock is the head coach at Mountain Point High School and doesn't want to see the community college football programs go.

"... make sure that these coaches and these kids are heard and they know how important this is to our communities," he said.

The program cuts will affect four campuses, which are Phoenix College, Scottsdale Community College, Mesa Community College and Glendale Community College.

[RELATED: 4 community colleges in Maricopa County to eliminate football programs]

MCCCD officials say the schools will play one final season before the programs are discontinued next year.

Many people think the proposed cuts are a bad move as football players who start in community college football programs have gone on to great things.

One example is former St. Louis Rams player Joe Germaine, who played at Scottsdale Community College before transferring to Ohio State.

People who oppose the cuts say that the football programs are a launching pad for young players who aren't quite ready to play Division I football right after high school.

"We do care about junior college football and that it is important to us and we need to keep it," said Maza.

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