It is an aggressive goal, but the small Division III liberal arts school is hoping to add 10 sports within the next three years. By achieving this goal they will grow the student enrollment significantly and increase the percentage of athletes on campus from the current 40% to 74%. By working toward having three of every four students on campus involved in a sport, the goal is that the school will also increase retention and graduation rates. Research continues to show that small college students who are involved in a sport are 4% more likely to complete their decreases students who are not athletes.
And while these plans may look good on paper, the one drawback is that the plan is to add all of these athletes with the existing facilities. This means that one already over crowded training room will be even more crowded, as well as under staffed. The existing facilities, of course, will be a problem for some of the additions, but the athletic director and college president seem to think everything will work out. The current athletes, however, are not certain. Adding a few martial arts mats or other kinds of tumbling mats may seem like a quick solution so that a new competitive cheer and an acrobatics and tumbling team can be added. When you realize, though, that the basketball coaches will need to share their gym space the challenges really begin.
Many Small Colleges Continue to Add Sports Programs to Their Schedules
As more and more colleges look for ways to keep students engaged enough to return for four years, there are many that are looking at adding a wider array of sports. With offerings as diverse as mens volleyball, womens lacrosse, and esports, in fact, there are a number of ways to attract a wider range of students athletes to campuses across the nation. In many cases, however, the addition of any of these sports also means the addition of lots more equipment and staff is also needed to improve the chance of success.
A few foam carpet tiles, for instance are not going to provide the same amount of cushion as martial arts mats which, in turn, will not provide as much cushion as gymnastics tumbling mats. Having the right equipment for every sport is important if a high school, college, or private club wants to succeed. There may have been a time, for instance, several decades ago when gymnasts could use wrestling mats for their routines. With today’s higher level of skills, however, this is no longer the case.
Martial arts mats are specifically designed for their purpose and gymnastics wedges and other mats serve different purposes. At present, nearly 100 million people on five continents and 192 countries practice karate, which makes it truly a global sport. For this kind of club activity or competitive sport to be added to college campus, the school needs to be prepared to invest in equipment, as well as coach and personal trainer staffing.
The latest research indicates that fewer than 5% of adults get 30 minutes of physical exercise every day, so keeping college athletes active is a goal that can help future generations be more fit, but not if all of the right equipment and safety measures are in place.
From small colleges to private clubs, adding sports make help increase enrollment and memberships, but it is essential that these new offerings come with the right equipment.