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NEWS

April 18, 2001

RSU To Postpone Decision on Creating Athletic Teams for One Year

Rogers State University has announced it will postpone for one year a decision on whether or not to add varsity athletic teams.

An athletics committee at RSU charged with studying the feasibility of adding varsity teams recently submitted its report to RSU President Joe Wiley.

"Our primary focus at this time is to offer high-quality academic programs at an affordable cost to residents of Eastern Oklahoma," Wiley said. "Although athletics can be an enriching part of the college experience for participants and observers, building a first-rate academic institution is our first priority."

Last fall, RSU began offering four bachelor's degrees in business information technology, applied technology, liberal arts and social sciences. Three of those degrees are available entirely via the Internet. RSU also offers a variety of two-year associate's degree programs.

This fall, the university plans to offer a fifth bachelor's degree in biology, pending approval by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The RSU athletics committee conducted a survey of residents in the Claremore area who indicated they would support varsity athletics at the university. The committee studied a variety of possible athletic teams, including men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, men's golf, and either women's fast-pitch softball or women's volleyball.

"While RSU students, staff, faculty, and the surrounding community clearly support the creation of athletic teams at the university, I feel the institution will be better served by postponing any action in this regard for a year," Wiley said.

The committee also studied possible athletic associations and conferences for its possible teams, including the NCAA Division II and NAIA.

The chairman of the committee was Barry Knight, head of RSU's Department of Business, located in its School of Business and Technology.

Wiley said he will continue to review the committee's report and make a decision sometime in the spring of 2002 on whether or not to continue to study the feasibility of creating athletic teams.

In addition, the university may study the feasibility of creating club-level or intramural sports.

"We may establish athletic teams in the future, but our primary commitment will always be to academic programs of the highest quality," Wiley said.