ALAMOSA, Colorado, December 24. THE Adams State College Board of Trustees unanimously approved a plan Friday that will add five additional "enrollment-based" sports to the institution's well-rounded athletic program over the next two years. The plan calls for the addition of men's golf, men's soccer and women's swimming & diving for the 2009-10 academic year and further expansion with the sports of women's lacrosse and men's swimming & diving, starting in the fall of 2010.
Adams State, a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) at the Division II level, currently fields 14 athletic programs- eight women's and six men's. This plan, which maintains ASC's gender-equity balance, will increase the college's total numbering of athletic offerings to 19- 10 women's and nine men's- and immediately reintroduces a sport (men's golf) that has a proud history at Adams State until it was dropped less than three years ago.
Adams State currently has approximately 375 student-athletes. The department will grow to serve more than 500 by the time is fully implemented, more than a quarter of the entire student-body population.
"Studies, both internal and external, have shown that student-athletes perform, remain and graduate at a significantly higher level than their non-athletic peers," Adams State Athletic Director Larry Mortensen said. "Why wouldn't we want more students like that?"
Mortensen was quick to point out that the new programs will not take away resources from existing sports and will be funded with revenues generated from the 154 new students expected to enroll at Adams State as a result of the new sports.
The scholarships that the new sports will offer to student-athletes will be in the form of partial room waivers in Adams State's residential facilities, currently filled at an about 80 percent capacity, according to Director of Auxiliary Services Bruce DelTondo.
"It also will help fill beds in our under-used dormitories and bring more geographically, racially and economic diverse students to our campus. Studies have also shown that the addition of athletic programs at other institutions have resulted in increased enrollment as new students often bring friends, boyfriends or girlfriends and spouses with them, an additional group of new students. The possibilities and benefits of this plan are endless," Mortensen said.
"The new sports are intended to give even more students a chance at a positive collegiate experience through athletics. That's what many of today's potential college students are looking for and is exactly what small-college athletics and Division II are all about," Mortensen added. "Although part of Adams State's mission has been and is to provide a high-quality education at an affordable cost, students need and want the extra opportunities and feeling of belonging to something beyond the classroom. This plan creates that exact type of opportunity."
Women's Swimming & Diving
Currently sponsored by three members of the RMAC and four other associate members of the conference, Adams State will field a women's swimming and diving team for the first time in school-history in 2009-10.
In 2008-09, the RMAC is sponsoring a conference championship for the first time since 1984 and will hold that championship Feb. 19-21 in San Antonio, Texas, the location of the University of Incarnate Word, one of the associate members of the conference. The 2009 National Championships will be held in Houston, Texas as part of the Division II Winter Sports Festival that also includes competition in men's and women's indoor track & field and wrestling.
The season runs from October through mid-March. Qualification for the National Championships is done on an individual athlete basis similar to track and field where athletes attempt to reach qualifying standards in the various events.
Obviously needing a practice facility, preparations are being made to re-open the Plachy Hall pool for use in the spring semester.
Men's Swimming & Diving
The addition of men's swimming & diving in 2009-10 will not be Adams State's first endeavor at the sport. The institution successfully sponsored the sport until the mid 1970's as a member of the NAIA, an organization that Adams State was a member of through 1991-92.
That success was certainly led by Kim Cummings, a 2003 inductee into Adams State's Athletic Hall of Fame. Cummings won three individual NAIA National Championships, including the 200-yard freestyle events in 1969 and 1972 and the 100-yard event in 1969.
A total of four RMAC institutions currently offer the emerging sport, including Colorado Mines, which is the only full RMAC member to sponsor it at this time.
Special thanks to Adams State for contributing this report.