JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. (WMBF) The potential shutdown of S C State has many of its current students wondering about the future of their educations, and for five area athletes, their athletic futures could be in jeopardy as well.
In just a few days, the South Carolina State track and field teams will be competing in the MEAC 2015 men's and women's indoor track and field championships, but if the proviso to shut down state is approved, it could be quite some time before the bulldogs can compete on the championship level again.
"I knew the school had been having some problems, " said former SC State linebacker, Ervin Parker, "but I didn't have no idea it was as bad as it is so I was really shocked and still a little shocked about it".
Parker played for SC State in the early 880's earning All-American status at two different positions and capturing national and conference championships in the process. He says the loss of the institution would have a greater impact than just what's seen on the field.
"We've had probably 18 generals that have come through there," reflected Parker, "we're the only school in the state that has four football players in the Hall of Fame, so South Carolina State has too much legacy for us to even think about shutting that school down."
Johnsonville high's Shaquille Crouch is one of five area players who have signed letters of intent to play at SC State in the fall, head coach Lewis Lineburger has been with him throughout the recruiting process and plans on sticking with him through this as well.
"I've talked to his mother a little bit but I haven't talked to him yet," said Lineburger. "I plan to sit down and talk with him. Again, we're looking for good things to happen and hopefully it will."
A coach with more than 30 years of experience, Lineburger knows how the recruiting process works, and he says while things may look grim now, there are still other options for the athletes, though there may not be many.
"There's still other opportunities but it makes it extremely tough because a lot of people are full at scholarships," said Lineburger. "Some always have some that do not sign so they have some extra ones but it takes a lot more work to find that next opportunity."