By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Cal State Bakersfield will drop its women's tennis program and add sand volleyball as an intercollegiate sport, the university announced Monday.
The university will drop the tennis program effective this year (the season was scheduled to begin in late September), while sand volleyball will begin in the spring of 2013 or 2014. The university also announced that its men's track and field program will not compete at indoor events, which are held in the winter. The outdoor season, which takes place in the spring, remains intact.
Women's tennis had been reclassified as a "community-funded" sport in 2009, requiring all operating funds to be raised privately. The program fell short of the $125,000 needed annually for salaries, operating expenses and scholarships, according to a university release.
"While we appreciate the support the community has shown our women's tennis program the past three seasons, the finances were at a point where we were unable to sustain the viability of the program," said CSUB President Dr. Horace Mitchell in a university release. "The athletics department has put together an innovative plan that creates new competition opportunities within their resources and within the confines of a rapidly-diminishing state budget."
According to the release, the changes to the athletic department "will help save the department additional costs that can be redistributed as per gender equity."
In order to continue to comply with gender-equity, the athletic department will replace the women's tennis program with women's sand volleyball, which held its first NCAA-sanctioned championship in April.
CSUB's sand volleyball program will join 15 other NCAA institutions, mostly on the West Coast.
"More importantly, sand volleyball will use the student-athletes and resources already afforded CSUB's traditional volleyball program," according to the university release. "Specifically the existing scholarships and coaching allocations will be utlized, while the former spring volleyball schedule will be replaced with sand volleyball competitions."
In NCAA sand volleyball, each school has five two-player teams, seeded 1 through 5. The school that wins the best-of-five series of matches is the winner.
"We feel this is a competitive model with an eye on focused operating expenses that also continues to provide opportunities for student-athletes to succeed," Director of Athletics Jeff Konya said in the release. "We're optimistic about the potential of our programs moving forward."