Jim: The spring semester marks a time of renewal for many. It spurns new beginnings along with fresh starts.
For our universityâ€™s athletic department it means the announcement of two new womenâ€™s sports: swimming/diving and lacrosse.
The two sports were added in an effort to seek Title IX compliance.
The swimming and diving team was last active during the 2003-2004 school year, while lacrosse is a completely new sport for our university and most of the state.
While I think swimming and diving makes sense, the addition of lacrosse was not a smart one by Fresno State.
Kim: Although I donâ€™t know all of the information behind this decision, the addition of lacrosse makes no sense. Iâ€™ve never known it to be big in this area or even the west coast.
So what are the chances of supporting those female athletes who will work their butts off to play? Slim to none. Not because they donâ€™t deserve it but because Iâ€™m just not that interested.
I also donâ€™t know where they will find people who want to play and what will happen if there arenâ€™t enough?
Jim: I donâ€™t understand why the university would add a sport that has little, if any popularity in the Central Valley.
The CIF Central Section doesnâ€™t even have lacrosse as one of its sanctioned high school sports. This means that recruiting will be much harder for Fresno State.
Our school recruits many of its athletes for several sports from the Valley high schools. So to add a sport that the Valley doesnâ€™t support doesnâ€™t really make sense.
And itâ€™s not just the Valley. Only four out of 10 sections in California support high school lacrosse programs.
Kim: So, they are going to invest all this money for what? I could suggest a couple other programs that would be more beneficial to the university.
It might be something deeper then we understand, though.
There are some club teams on campus that wouldnâ€™t have let this money go to waste.
Jim: If the university could do it all over again, I would suggest adding womenâ€™s water polo instead of lacrosse.
Water polo is one of the hottest sports in California right now. Several schools in the Fresno area support programs, which would make recruiting much easier than lacrosse.
Cal, Stanford, UC Davis and St. Maryâ€™s are the only Division I California universities that have womenâ€™s lacrosse programs compared to the 11 that support womenâ€™s water polo.
Kim: Besides that, our water polo team is established and successful. It makes so much more sense to invest in something thatâ€™s already up and running rather than starting from scratch.
Not to reiterate what we both have already said, but building up success for lacrosse is going to be hard.
They will have far less support, further to travel and will need bigger incentive in recruiting athletes.
Jim: If adding lacrosse was meant to be a budget saver, than I think some people were mistaken. Travel costs will be more for lacrosse because the Bulldogs would have only four Division I opponents to face in California.
Additionally, money is going to spent on building a completely new complex east of Bulldog Stadium.
Kim: A stadium that might not get as much use as they are hoping, too. We have a lot of gyms, fields and clubs that would play in or on them.
We shouldnâ€™t neglect those for something that could be a complete failure.