(Well, I'm not sure why this didn't post at 7am like it was scheduled to do. Sorry for the late posting folks. Things should be back to normal tomorrow with Paulie returning from vacation. -- Jeff "Worldwide" McAdams)
Whither To, UofL Athletics?
Over the past two years, we have all celebrated the many successes of UofL Athletics, and have been able to celebrate with every sports team that UofL fields as all have achieved successes, with many of them making great strides forward.
But what would be the next steps for the UofL Athletic department? What would be the next sports that UofL should add? We should point out that we don't have any knowledge of any plans to add any sports to the Athletic Department, but think it's fun to consider the possibilities.
As with so much having to do with UofL Athletics this year, we should consider our new conference association.
We've pointed out several times that all of UofL's sports have a home in The ACC, but what about the other direction? What sports does The ACC sponsor that UofL does not yet participate in? There are three.
It seems unlikely that UofL would be in any hurry to add Fencing or Wrestling. Both are certainly possible additions, but I don't see much demand for them.
What is probably a more likely conference sport to add would be Men's Lacrosse. After only seven years of competing, our Women's Lacrosse team is achieving national prominence and moving into what is unquestionably the strongest Lacrosse conference in the nation in both men's and women's competition. Adding Men's Lacrosse could be a solid choice for UofL, though it would probably raise some Title IX considerations if it were to be added in isolation. Competing in both Men's and Women's Lacrosse would probably boost recruitment, and the programs would have the possibility of sharing some of the infrastructure, to the benefit of both.
Up and Coming Sports
There are a number of sports that are considered "Emerging Sports" at the NCAA, and I think several could be good candidates for UofL to add.
Regular readers will be unsurprised to learn that I top this list with Sand Volleyball. Much like adding Men's Lacrosse, adding Sand Volleyball (which the NCAA only currently sponsors for women) would bolster recruiting for our current Volleyball team. While the two teams wouldn't be able to share too much infrastructure, they can easily share student athletes. Many top up and coming volleyball players are starting to look at playing both sports in college, and with students being able to play both, but only needing to have a scholarship from one, both teams could bolster their overall rosters. The NCAA also sponsors Men's Volleyball, so that would be another sport that would be easy to add with similar benefits and Title IX considerations to adding Men's Lacrosse.
UofL already has a club Ice Hockey team, and making that a varsity sport is certainly a possibility. Like Men's Lacrosse, this would have Title IX considerations to think about. The NCAA does sponsor championships in both Men's and Women's Ice Hockey, but I am unaware of any participation at the club level of UofL in Women's Ice Hockey.
Stunt is a developing sport that is essentially competitive cheerleading. This is not even to the point of being considered an emerging sport at the NCAA yet, but UofL is already occasionally competing in Stunt competitions...and nearly universally winning, given the outstanding quality of the UofL Spirit Squads. Adding this as a sport would complement and support the amazing Spirit Squad program at UofL.
Another NCAA emerging sport that might have some attraction in the Louisville area, although not much from me to be honest, is Women's Equestrian.
Some other NCAA emerging sports that I don't see any particular attraction for UofL, are Rugby, Water Polo, and Triathalon. All three are sponsored in both Men's and Women's forms by the NCAA.
Other Common NCAA Sports
There are a number of Championship Sports in the NCAA that UofL does not participate in. These could all be candidates to be added, though I don't see any particular attraction to UofL for any of them (where a gender isn't mentioned, the NCAA sponsors both Men's and Women's)
- Water Polo
- Women's Bowling
Sports don't have to be sponsored by the NCAA for a school to participate...for example, we mentioned on the radio show recently that Stanford competes in Men's and Women's Sailing, Women's Squash, and Synchronized Swimming.
What do you think? Are there other sports that you think UofL could add? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments.