Friday, February 17, 2012

Could Auburn add Men’s Soccer?

This comes up for debate or is thrown around every now and then. Could Auburn add another varsity sport? Well, if the funds are there, sure. More than that though, you would need to weigh some key factors and components. The main factor being Title IX from the NCAA which states:

 

Q. How is Title IX applied to athletics?

Athletics programs are considered educational programs and activities. There are three basic parts of Title IX as it applies to athletics:

  1. Participation: Title IX requires that women and men be provided equitable opportunities to participate in sports. Title IX does not require institutions to offer identical sports but an equal opportunity to play;                          
  2. Scholarships: Title IX requires that female and male student-athletes receive athletics scholarship dollars proportional to their participation; and                          
  3. Other benefits: Title IX requires the equal treatment of female and male student-athletes in the provisions of: (a) equipment and supplies; (b) scheduling of games and practice times; (c) travel and daily allowance/per diem; (d) access to tutoring; (e) coaching, (f) locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities; (g) medical and training facilities and services; (h) housing and dining facilities and services; (i) publicity and promotions; (j) support services and (k) recruitment of student-athletes.

 

Basically, you have to have an equal number of men's and women's athletic scholarships. With College Football taking up or adding 85 schollys, you have more women’s sports to equal that amount.

 

You need competition around you to play so we’ll see how many teams exist in Auburn’s border states (FL/TN/MS/GA). We’ll even throw in Louisiana and South Carolina for extra help. In theory you’d want at least 5 or 6 schools within that distance to keep travel restrictions down.

 

Men’s Soccer

 

Scholarships Required: 9.9

Competition: Alabama A&M, Centenary, Clemson, Charleston, ETSU, FAU, Florida Gulf Coast, Furman, GA Southern, Georgia State, Jacksonville, SC Upstate, Presbyterian, North Florida, Memphis, South Carolina, USF, UAB, UCF, Belmont, Mercer, FIU

 

Really, Auburn’s best chance for success in Men’s Soccer would be to join Conference USA like Kentucky and South Carolina have (men’s soccer only members). It would give the Tigers an in-state rival (UAB) and keep the travel restrictions down. One thing I wouldn’t recommend? Going independent. That hasn’t worked out so well for Alabama A&M:

 

The Alabama A&M men’s soccer team will play its final contest, Wednesday, when they take on the Tigers of the University of Memphis at 6 p.m. at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex.

The Bulldogs enter the match at 0-10-0 in 2010. The Division I independent program is on the verge of extinction, with rumors swirling that the program is in its final year of competition in collegiate athletics.

It hasn’t been a happy year for Maroon & White, who have been outscored 59-7 in its 10 matches so far this season.

 

 

Soccer is probably the only men’s sport that Auburn could feasibly add. Lacrosse is a hot sport, but no one really plays it in-state and the closest competition is Mercer. Wrestling has history at Auburn, but has moved into a more Midwestern base. If Auburn was to try and add Men’s soccer, they would need a female counter sport. Sadly the doesn’t really exist. Maybe Bowling? However, that’s only 5 scholarships. There aren’t many other women’s sports left that could get female students to Auburn AND have enough scholarships to justify men’s soccer. For now? It’s just a hopeful dream.

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