Little Big Horn College’s basketball teams have had a rough few years, and not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the pandemic shut down college sports, specifically at tribal colleges and universities, even before that the basketball program was suffering from a lack of funding. Dr. Cheryl Birdhat Polacek, Athletic Director and Health and Wellness Center Director, explained.
In the early fall of 2018, Little Big Horn College had a large drop in enrollment, and as a result, funds needed to be moved to keep the school running. The Basketball program had their budget slashed.
“Our funds were reduced. To 0.” Birdhat Polacek said.
The program ended up having to raise funds themselves.
“We’ve been able to continue participating, but not at the level we’d like to, and not at the level our students deserve,” Birdhat Polacek added.
Activities Coordinator and Men’s Basketball coach Theodore “T.R.” Little Light described the canceling of basketball as “heartbreaking” but showed clear excitement at its return.
“We have 18 guys on the team, and that’s just for the men’s team.”
In fact, there’s so many team members that the school doesn’t have enough uniforms for them all.
“There weren’t any big obstacles or challenges, the students were eager to start the team again.”
While the teams quickly filled up and students are bringing a passion to play with them, there have been some issues with scheduling due to the weather. Besides that, Little Light expressed excitement over the way things are going, he discussed his goals for the year.
“I want us to get things back on track, especially having a full schedule done up,” Little Light said.
He also happily reported that his other goal, having home games with attendance from the community, has been met, saying there was “a good turnout”
Gernell Killsnight, the women’s basketball coach, is in charge of scheduling.