While men’s volleyball was announced previously, in the last couple of months baseball, men’s wrestling, men’s rugby, and women’s rugby have been announced and will be joining men’s volleyball on its maiden year.
As long as recruiting brings in the numbers for the teams to sustain themselves early, each team will begin as club sports their first season and then join NCAA competition the following season, much like field hockey did the year before,
Opportunity, according to both Director of Athletics Cherie Swarthout and Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Facilities Randall Goble, is what brought so many new sports to Queens at once.
Both Swarthout and Goble discussed that any sport Queens brings in has to go through a kind of research project, called a feasibility study, before Queens actually establishes a program. The feasibility study will determine how costly establishing the new sport will be and whether it will be worth having at the school. Through this kind of study, Queens determined a few years ago that it would not try to establish a football program.
Baseball finally makes the cut
This is where the opportunity comes into play. Baseball is a sport that has been on the school’s radar for years as an already popular sport and a SAC sport. Jack McDowell, a former Cy Young award winner who lives in Charlotte, reached out to Swarthout a year ago asking if Queens was considering adding baseball. At the time, Swarthout thought he was just going to be a consultant, but when she called him back as Queens was seriously considering adding it, she was pleasantly surprised to find that he wanted to be the coach. Then a location appeared for this hypothetical Queens baseball team to play at. “The stars aligned when parks and rec built two new fields six miles from campus,” said Swarthout.
The surprising addition: Rugby
Some students may find men’s and women’s rugby the most surprising among the new sports coming to Queens next year. What they may find more surprising is that women’s rugby is an NCAA emerging sport for women, according to Swarthout and Goble. The way the emerging sport system works, says Goble, is that the NCAA requires a certain number of schools to sponsor an emerging sport before it becomes officially NCAA sanctioned. Women’s triathlon is another emerging sport that Queens participates in.
The draw to rugby for Queens is more than just its status as an emerging sport, however. “Rugby is exploding in the region,” said Swarthout. Rugby, as well as all new arrivals to Queens, further benefitted from the athletic department being able to find good leadership immediately for each sport. Swarthout says Queens wouldn’t have brought in any of the new sports if it hadn’t found such good coaches for each one.
Space to be made
Currently, games at Dickson Field over at the Athletic Complex along Tyvola Road are played over the chaos of several different colored lines serving several different sports. With already so many sports played at Queens, and Dickson Field already overwhelmed by playing lines for soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and field hockey, students may be wondering where so many new sports will play.
Space will be made, says Goble. There will be a new field for field hockey to play on by the tennis courts, both of which should be finished during the summer. Rugby will practice at Myers Park Field behind campus, says Swarthout, and will play at the athletic complex or a rented field. Men’s volleyball and wrestling will need to utilize an already crowded gym for practice, though. Goble says Queens will need more practice facilities over time.
Space is also being made for the new coaches. Offices for current staff are being moved around to make space for offices for the new coaches. Goble says the suite on the first floor, where his office used to be, will be modified to hold more offices.Some other sports that didn’t make the cut were tossed out at Swarthout and asked why they didn’t make the cut. Why not add another sport to the pool and add something like water polo? Well swimming and triathlon already fill up the schedule for the pool, and the Queens pool is simply just not deep enough all the way around for water polo.
It takes quite some time for Queens to decide whether or not to add a sport, so if you have one you want them to consider, you should probably reach out to Swarthout and Goble sooner rather than later because it may take some time before the sport you want brought to Queens goes through the process and is added.