Student survey led to Mesa adding three new sports starting next year

The students let Mesa State College know what they wanted, and they are going to get it.

A survey asking the students what other extracurricular activities they wanted produced results that led the college to add three varsity sports, Mesa State Athletic Director Butch Miller said Thursday. The college conducts the survey every two or three years.

That’s why the college is adding men’s golf, men’s swimming and diving and women’s lacrosse as intercollegiate varsity sports over the next two years.

Snowboarding and golf were the most popular choices, but snowboarding isn’t a NCAA-sanctioned sport. Lacrosse was a popular choice as well.

“Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport this side of the Mississippi,” Miller said.

There are 45 NCAA Division II institutions with women’s lacrosse and more are planning to add it, Miller said.

It is not an RMAC-sponsored sport, but Regis already has women’s lacrosse and Fort Lewis added it this year. Four other RMAC schools besides Mesa are adding the sport in the 2010-11 school year, Miller said.

Because the Mesa State athletic department is trimming its travel budget, the Mavericks’ women’s lacrosse program will likely play the six RMAC schools more than once.

Men’s golf and men’s swimming and diving are RMAC-sponsored sports and made sense to add as varsity sports, with women’s golf and women’s swimming and diving already varsity sports.

“It’s an easy one to add,” Miller said. “The (men’s and women’s) teams can travel together.”

Men’s golf and men’s swimming will be non-scholarship programs. A decision on scholarships for women’s lacrosse has not been made.

None of the 15 Mesa State intercollegiate programs are fully funded with athletic scholarships, but Miller said that is offset by the Western Undergraduate Exchange program and the Plains scholarship program.

The addition of three sports will mean the athletic department will have to raise more money to fund the programs for uniforms and travel expenses.

“We understand fundraising will be difficult with the tough economy, but people will give to what they believe in,” Miller said.

Men’s track and field and cross country will be the only RMAC-sponsored sports not offered by Mesa State.

Miller said those sports were discussed, but the administration decided against it because of the travel expenses for a large team.


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