Women athletes have one fewer teams than the men in the Athletics Department-but worse things have taken place.
Students, faculty and ACU supporters often look at these numbers and instantly decide that gender prohibits women from fielding the same number of teams as the men.
Wildcat sports fans often fail to notice the issues of money, scholarships and planning that come into effect with every discussion of a new women’s team.
Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University, the other two Christian colleges in the city, both seem to cater to more female athletics than ACU does. Hardin-Simmons has an even six-to-six male-to-female sports ratio, and McMurry offers two more women’s sports than ACU’s Athletics Department.
Why do Division III universities with fewer resources than ACU field either more women’s teams or an equal number of teams for each gender than a program funded at an athletically successful Division II university?
We offer two possible answers.
First, ACU focuses so much on improving its current sports lineup that it doesn’t have the time or resources to add another team.
Second, more factors go into starting a team at a Division II university than critics realize. Fans see the greater number of female teams at McMurry and the even number of teams at HSU and assume the athletic director can start a team by making a phone call.
Different mindsets and philosophies must be taken in making decisions for a D-II program. D-III universities have miniscule amounts of money to give to athletes for scholarships, so the ones that play there are playing for less, and, many times, these smaller schools offer sports as a means of boosting enrollment, so they can add a high number of teams at a low cost.
Jared Mosley, director of the Wildcat Athletics Department, said ACU is seriously considering female golf and soccer teams because other teams in our region compete in these sports.
However, most Division II schools in our region don’t offer a sport like swimming, which makes the economics of competition with distant universities too pricey.
Division II athletics programs like ACU’s are more organized and are provided to bring talented athletes to our campus, providing quality resources for athletic endeavors in addition to boosting enrollment numbers. Funds are more limited at ACU, because of the better quality players who expect more scholarship money.
ACU wants to start more women’s teams, but is waiting for ripe circumstances (money, players, ideas, etc.) before it moves into this expensive procedure.
The university’s women athletes have been successful in the past. ACU’s volleyball team won the Lone Star conference championship last year to finish with a 31-6 record, and the women’s tennis team won the Division II Central Region tennis title last year and advanced to nationals in Florida.
Women’s sports at ACU are excelling and an even brighter future looms-just give the Wildcat women time.