Written by Ace Espenshied
Ladies, make your way to the starting line!
The next VSU sport is about four or five years away, and it is likely to be a women’s sport. Part of the reason for that is title 9 which was created to provide equal opportunity and equality of experience for men and women athletes.
“Because of the fact that we have football we are constantly reviewing our title 9 compliance,” VSU athletic direct Herb Reinhart said. “With that in mind there would be a good chance that our next sport would be a women’s sport.”
Since VSU has a football team, it skews the total number of scholarships in favor of male athletes. Title 9 mandates that the total amount of scholarships must be considerably proportionate to the ratio of male and female athletes.
Therefore if another female sport is added the ratio between male and female athletes would go down and there would be more funding towards women athletes.
Track and field, in my opinion, should be the next varsity sport added to Title Town over golf or possibly swimming.
The decision on the next sport would likely have to come sooner than later, especially if track was chosen. Right now there is no VSU facility available for track unless Valdosta High School was willing to provide a facility much like football.
Currently there are five GSC schools that have a women’s outdoor track team and six schools if you include Lee University being added to the conference in the 2014-15 season. Hopefully GSC schools can find success in track persuading Reinhart to consider track even more so.
“We watch what other schools might add and if a sport becomes a championship sport, that’s something we take note of,” Reinhart said.
In the GSC there must be six schools participating in a sport for there to be a conference championship.
Right now the GSC only has women’s golf and men’s soccer championships that VSU doesn’t have a team to compete in.
“Once a championship is offered in the conference it makes the sport more attractive to us,” Reinhart said.
In state conference rival West Georgia has both a women’s track team and a women’s golf team. Currently UWG has 20 girls participating in track while they have only 5 competing in golf.
Track is a much more diverse sport than golf. Athletes in track don’t have to be good at one certain thing like they do in golf.
There are sprinters, jumpers, hurdlers, throwers, and distance runners. That makes track more appealing to a variety of athletes and more appealing to VSU.
“I’ve seen schools do it different ways, survey the students to see what their interest would be in,” assistant women’s basketball coach Jennifer Grubbs said. “Also paying attention to what is going on around us in local high schools and around the state.”
Through a petition, a survey, or the creation of a club sport, the next VSU sport can be influenced by the student body more than they think.