Adding new varsity sports to a college campus is a big undertaking. However, Kansas State is not new to this. In 2014, the university decided to cut the equestrian program to start a soccer program.
Currently, of the available Big 12 sports, K-State is missing a men’s tennis, wrestling and swim/dive team. For women’s sports, they are missing gymnastics, softball and swim/dive.
When students were asked what they would like to see, their opinions were typically based off of past experiences.
“I would personally like to see gymnastics because I was a gymnast for nine years, so that’s just a sport that means a lot to me,” Noah Brizendine, sophomore in landscape architecture, said.
K-State athletics director Gene Taylor said some of the most popular suggestions are softball and wrestling.
Taylor said when it came to choosing a sport to replace equestrian, the decision was between soccer and softball. Soccer won the vote because of the great local recruiting base.
When adding new sports, Title IX is always a factor to keep in mind along with finances. K-State operates on one of the lower budgets in the Big 12 and is self-funded, Taylor said.
Colby Kostelac, freshman in business administration, said, “I think softball would be the best option, but I just don’t know how much benefit it would really have to the school because they are all smaller sports.”
Adding a women’s sport would probably come next for a multitude of reasons, based off interest and abilities for the area and what K-State could be successful in, Taylor said. The budget might be the biggest hindrance, as K-State Athletics would have to build a new facility, pay salaries and pay for everyday operation costs.
While the logistics of starting a new athletic program are a massive undertaking, some students still believe that softball would be a good option for K-State.
“I think they should add a softball team because it is a popular Big 12 sport,” Katie Yankovitch, sophomore in biology, said. “From personal experience, eastern Kansas has pretty good softball teams, so it would be somewhat easy to put a team together.”
While a new team probably won’t be popping up any time soon, Taylor said “never say never” to the possibility of adding sports in the future.
On Sept. 7, K-State Athletics will hold a press conference revealing the new facility master plan, which will include facility upgrades for the current athletic programs.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article said the equestrian program at K-State was cut in in 2015, and that the program was failing. The program was cut due to a recommendation from the NCAA, rather than the specific performance or record of K-State’s equestrian team. The Collegian apologizes for the incorrect assertion.