By Jaci Schneider, Opinion Editor
Student recruiters might soon have one more aspect of ACU to entice prospective students with: women’s varsity soccer or women’s varsity golf.
“Soccer is a hot item right now, and there’s a lot of interest,” said athletic director Jared Mosley.
“We’ve had discussions about the possibility of adding women’s soccer and/or women’s golf,” he said.
Mosley said administrators have been discussing the possibility of adding another women’s sport for several years.
Dr. Gary McCaleb, vice president of the university, said a committee discusses the issue once or twice a year.
“We’re closer to it now than we were three or five years ago, but we’re not exact when that will be yet,” McCaleb said.
Factors that would determine the final decision of the next sport to add are the availability and proximity of other schools offering the same sport, McCaleb said.
Budget issues are also a concern, Mosley said. The budget would include scholarships, salaries for coaches and operational costs, such as traveling.
A main reason for the addition of soccer or golf is so the university can fulfill the requirements of Title IX, a part of the Education Amendment passed in 1972 that requires schools that receive federal funds give males and females equal opportunity to participate in athletics.
McCaleb said the addition of women’s soccer or golf would balance out the football team.
“Since there’s not a collegiate women’s football program. You have a lot more males in athletics than females,” McCaleb said. Although volleyball provides an opportunity for women, it is a much smaller program than football.
So far in the process, soccer seems to be the logical sport to add, Mosley said.
“It’s a bigger sport and would provide more opportunities for females who are interested in competing in athletics,” he said. “Soccer is a sport in our conference and in our area that schools are adding.”
Both McCaleb and Mosley said many prospective students ask about women’s soccer at ACU.
“Our indication is that the interest in women’s soccer and golf is increasing,” McCaleb said. “More students each passing year are playing in high school.”
Mosley said although a timeline has not been set for the implementation of a new women’s sport, a coach would most likely need at least a year to recruit before play begins.