Thursday, June 25, 2009

Re-shuffling the program in West Virginia

The athletic department at Salem International University in Salem, WV has had some problems with ineligible players and institutional control. So while they are on NCAA and conference probation (including no post-season eligibility), administrators are doing some reorganization. The university, which has stated that is currently in good standing with Title IX, will drop four sports: men's and women's golf, women's volleyball, and men's tennis. The athletic director has said these four squads are mostly made up of athletes from other sports--sports that said athletes consider to be their primary ones. In other words, the dropped sports have had to do some heavy recruiting from within the athletic department and not very successfully. And though winning isn't everything, it does not seem that many of the sports--dropped or saved--have had a lot of success. So the university is also using this time to beef up the program. Forthcoming is a discussion of bringing back football. The SIU considered it in 2003 but decided to focus on restructuring academics, but now it is back on the table with a potential on-campus stadium that would also serve soccer and softball--both of which currently use off-campus facilities. Costs to start up and maintain a football program will be central to discussions as well as how to increase the participation opportunities to female students.