DAVIS (CBS13) – The buzz surrounding a new women’s varsity team at UC Davis is growing. The university’s female student population has significantly increased, making room for new opportunities for women in the athletics department.
“Its an exciting opportunity for us as a university and athletics department,” said Eric Bankston, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications.
While men’s sports seem to get most of the attention, women’s teams make up 14 of the 23 varsity teams on the UC Davis campus, and now there will soon be one more.
“Whatever sport it is I think it’s great for women to have another sports team,” said men’s basketball player Garrison Good.
Athletic Director Kevin Blue hosted an open forum Tuesday night to update the community on the progress of selecting a team.
“We’re just in the process of gathering data about each possible candidate teams,” said Blue.
After hundreds of online submissions by students and others, 14 sports team have been nominated: beach volleyball, curling, cycling, dance, e-sports, equestrian, skiing, stunt (also known as cheer), fencing, ice hockey, rugby, triathlon, rowing, and wrestling.
“I think women’s rugby is really cool, I know we already have a club team,” said Robin Lampron.
Lampron is a student-athlete on the swim and dive team.
“It’s great to give girls that wouldn’t have had the opportunity to come here, to be able to play their sports,” said Lampron
So what goes into choosing a team? It comes down to this criteria:
1. A sufficient number of participation opportunities.
2. Donor support.
3. Conference affiliations and a place where the team would compete.
4. Competitive opportunity for a new team
“It’s a rare opportunity in general, at the Division 1 level to add a program to compete at this level,” said Bankston.
In 2011, women made up 55% of the overall campus population. Now that number has grown to 59, and under a federal law known as Title nine, colleges are required to provide equal opportunities for both men and women in athletics, and proportionate to the percentage of the male and female student population. The increase in female students, allows this new opportunity to be made possible.
“We’re proud to follow the law by adding a woman’s sport rather reducing on the men’s side,” said Blue.
“I think it’s a really good sign for the school and the times,” said student Lauren McNamara.
After a thorough analysis, a recommendation will be made to the Chancellor by the end of winter quarter. A new team will be set for the 2018-2019 academic year.