Colorado State University-Pueblo will be home to six new sports next fall regardless of how much the CSU-Pueblo Foundation raises in its fundraising campaign, which announced the additions in August.
The On the Move Campaign, spearheaded by the foundation, plans to raise a total of $5 million for athletics.
Half of the money will serve as start-up funds and scholarships for the six sports and the other $2.5 million will be used to renovate the soccer field so it can also house the lacrosse teams.
Despite the fact the foundation has only raised $5.45 million of $25 million for its total campaign, which will give $15 million to scholarships and academic programs and another $5 million to the Occhiato University Center renovations, Todd Kelly, CEO of the CSU-Pueblo Foundation, said there is currently enough money to start the sports next fall.
The money has already been raised through the foundation, Kelly said. The foundation is fronting the university the $2.5 million so construction on the soccer field can begin.
Men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s cross country, men’s indoor and outdoor track and field and women’s swimming and diving will add to the already existing 16 sports teams at CSU-Pueblo.
The new sports were chosen based on sports that already exist at other schools in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and a survey of student’s opinions.
Lacrosse, track and field, and cross-country are all sports that require a high participation, which will bring more students to CSU-Pueblo, said Athletics Director Joe Folda.
Women’s swimming and diving were added because NCAA title 9 requires an equal number of men’s and women’s sports at a university, Folda said. Kelly added that it was a sport students wanted to see the university add.
The six new teams will bring in around 130 student athletes, most of which will bring in money for the university.
“A majority of student athletes are paying something out of pocket to come to school here,” Kelly said.
Kelly explained the NCAA has found each student athlete brings an additional student to the university attended, whether they are a sibling, a friend, a boyfriend or a girlfriend.
So, It is likely there will be anywhere from 250 to 300 additional new students on campus next year because of the new sports both Kelly and Folda said.
“A majority of them will be paying their way to get here,” Kelly said. “So, it will be more students on campus and more tuition and fees coming in. More people in the dorms and in the classes. We see it as a positive economic impact for the university that way.”
Coaches of the new sports will start working on building the teams during the spring semester. The athletics department is currently in the middle of the hiring process.
“We’ve already hired the men’s track and cross country coach, we did that when we hired our women’s coach,” Folda said.
The department is in final stages of hiring lacrosse coaches and is just beginning the search for a swimming and diving coach, but it is expected the positions will be filled within the next month.
While recruiting efforts have not officially started, there has been quite a bit of interest already, according to Folda. Prospective students have already been filling out recruitment questionnaires on the athletics website.