Santa Barbara City College has agreed to reinstate its men’s intercollegiate tennis program in the 2015-16 academic year if $30,000 is raised from the community by February 28.

The fundraising drive is spearheaded by the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons. If the goal is met, a matching grant from the SBCC Foundation will fund the tennis team next season. To continue fielding a men’s tennis team in 2016-17 and 2017-18, two more annual $30,000 drives will be launched.

SBCC suspended men’s tennis after the 2014 season, citing a decline in participation and decreased retention of first-year players. Tennis advocates argued that the sport deserved to remain in place because of its relatively low cost and its history at the college.

“We are excited about the opportunity to bring back the long tradition of SBCC men’s tennis,” said John Sanford, vice president of the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons. His father, Jack Sanford, was a longtime Vaquero tennis coach and a 1998 inductee into the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame.

A press release from the college stated: “The ultimate goals of both SBCC and the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons are to encourage student participation in men’s intercollegiate tennis from local high school students, increased retention of first-year players to second year, and successful graduation and/or transfer to four-year colleges and universities in order for men’s tennis to regain institutionalized funding.”

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