ALEXANDRIA, LA — LSU-Alexandria will introduce five additional sports programs by the 2014-15 academic year, a move approved Wednesday by the LSU Board of Supervisors.
The additional sports will be funded through the student athletic fee, booster support, and other donor gifts. The expansion of LSU-Alexandria’s athletics program and the increase in student athletic fees was approved by a student-wide referendum vote in mid-March and was affirmed by the Board of Supervisors’ vote on Wednesday.
The new sports include men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s tennis, bringing the total number of sports on the campus to seven.
“We are excited about these sports complementing our already successful athletic program,” said Charlie Zeilman, LSU-Alexandria’s director of athletics and head softball coach. “Our student-athletes are dedicated and enthusiastic, both on the field and in the classroom, and we anticipate even more of that energy on campus with these additional sports.”
The move will allow LSU-Alexandria to join a conference with peer universities as athletic competitors. Until now, as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, LSU-Alexandria’s baseball and softball teams have competed with a limited number of other independent programs.
LSU-Alexandria first began its baseball and softball programs in the spring semester of the 2007-08 academic year, almost two years after initial approval by the Board of Supervisors. Likewise, the 2013-14 academic year will be one in which the basic elements of the infrastructure to offer the additional sports will be put into place. Intercollegiate play in the five additional sports should begin with the 2014-15 academic year.
To remain a member in good standing with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, LSU-Alexandria was required to field and compete in at least six NAIA championship sports by the 2015-16 academic year.
The LSU-Alexandria baseball and softball programs have proven highly successful with 32 current softball student-athletes and 45 baseball student-athletes. LSU-Alexandria softball and baseball programs are self-sufficient.
The expansion of the athletic program will bring with it a more traditional campus atmosphere and will aid in the development of co-curricular activities as well as act as a recruitment tool. Campus officials are planning advances in other areas of student life to enhance the growth of athletics and housing.
LSU-Alexandria already has facilities that lend themselves to these additional sports. The campus boasts state-of-the-art outdoor tennis courts and a properly graded soccer field. The campus also has a Fitness Center with a basketball court. All of these venues are on campus and have ample parking.
In the future, the campus may consider incorporating additional low-cost sports such as golf, cross-country, and women’s volleyball, if demand and revenues support such an expansion. LSU-Alexandria does not anticipate developing an intercollegiate football program.