Club sports to add three additional fall programs
The Liberty University Club Sports department added three teams: men’s racquetball, men’s disc golf and women’s disc golf, which will be added for the 2011 fall semester.
These new teams open up the possibility for Liberty students to be involved in a wider variety of competitive sports that are more officially run than the intramural teams and more similar to the NCAA teams at the university.
According to Director of Club Sports Kirk Handy, the department is run professionally and proficiently, and the sports have try-outs, recruiting, are not student-run and play in a lot of conferences that NCAA athletic teams do.
Handy said the department does not want to add teams that Liberty already has at the NCAA level. Nonetheless, the program has expanded extensively within the past few years.
“Over the past four years we’ve grown from six teams and 90 student athletes to 29 teams and 400 student athletes,” Handy said. This is the projected base number for the fall with the addition of these new teams.
Handy said the expansion of club sports is made possible by the fact that Liberty possesses the appropriate facilities to run these different types of teams. Some of the facilities were given as generous donations given to the school.
For instance, Liberty has just been donated a nearby facility, The Sports Racket, which provides a place for the future men’s racquetball team to compete and practice, according to Handy.
“We were blessed to be given facilities and we’re going to make good use of them with the teams,” Handy said.
Students have already been showing interest in these new club sports. Handy said he began receiving emails soon after the announcement had been made.
“Club sports have really evolved over the past three years into something pretty cool,” Handy said.
Although there are no Title IX requirements that regulate the number of club sports a university can have, Handy said that the department tries to add a sufficient and even number of men and women’s teams as best it can. There is even the possibility of a women’s racquetball team being created in the future.
The expansion of Club Sports is part of Liberty’s goal to draw students to the school and augment their experience while they are attending. Handy referred to Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. who once said that music and sports are the two things that attract students to a school. Club Sports, like the ones that are being added for the fall, add to this allure.
“It not only makes them a better student while they’re here … but it also develops better alumni who can be passionate about a specific program at Liberty,” Handy said. “Students who have a great experience at Liberty and are part of something special then, in turn, become more engaged alumni.”
There is an informational meeting about the men’s racquetball team, Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in the LaHaye Ice Center. Students can find out more information about club sports at liberty.edu/clubsports.