The university has been exploring the possibility of adding a new sports team. There are currently 16 teams that are a part of the university with 18 squads, according to President Sherilyn Emberton, Ed.D.
Emberton said that part of the planning process is maximizing the current programs.
“We began to look at sports that match [the] mission,” Emberton said. “What’s in our Crossroad League, what’s an emerging area of sport that we can maybe be ahead on.”
When looking at the options that meet the criteria, Emberton said that lacrosse and wrestling would be a good fit. She said students are most interested in the university adding a football team.
“The reason why football is attractive is number one – it adds lots of students. Number two – it adds a lot of student participation,” she said.
When a university has a football team, it usually expands to other opportunities such as expanded music programs for a band to be at the games or expanding a cheer leading squad to cheer at the games as well.
“You begin to add a lot of of other groups that enjoy that sport and so you can go from about 100 to 125 kids on the team to almost 250 kids that are interested in all of the different aspects.”
Emberton said that this is the reason why the interest of a football team is so popular, however the university wants to make sure to find something that fits the university’s mission.
“We have to do it in such a way that it doesn’t take away from any of the current programs that we’re doing,” she said.
Along with making sure the sports team goes with the mission, cost will play a big part in the decision as well.
“We really have to count the cost,” Emberton said. “We have to make sure that if we invest that way, that it really does grow the university and it really does enhance the great student experience we already have.”
Emberton said the university is doing their “diligence” on all of those sports, while looking at both opportunities for both men and women.
“I like sports because so many people participate,” she said. “It’s fun its something light and it’s something that really enhances the culture of the campus. I feel that same way about music and about art and all the other things that our students do.”
The overall process of adding a new sports team will consist of a multiple steps that involve looking at other teams in the conference, looking at the university’s facilities, measuring donor and student interest and going to staff and faculty for support.
“We look at all of that because we want to make sure that anything we do meets all of the criteria to move it forward,” Emberton said. “From there it really becomes more of a financial study to look at the cost and making sure within that parameter of cost, everybody feels the same way, pro or against it”
As of right now, the idea of adding a new sports team to he university is still underway. There is no confirmation yet of whether or not they will be adding in the near future.