Look around the sports complex of ENC, do you see football, track and field, or any inventive, diverse and unique sports teams? I certainly don’t, so I went looking for explanations. My first person of contact was Athletic Director Brad Zarges.
Zarges attempted to explain why some sports are simply not feasible at ENC. He commented that while lacrosse, swimming, or track and field “potentially could generate interest and get participation,” this does not mean that the college would be able to provide them.
Among the greatest issues that surround the introduction of new sports are the new additions that may be necessary to play the sport. New fields, pools, or athletic centers would have to be added or rented in order for ENC to register new sports for competition.
Football, in particular, is a sport that is sorely missed by many on campus. With the desire for football comes a few potential problems for the athletic department. First, football is a contact sport that results in a high potential for injury and, thus, an increased cost of insurance. Secondly, there is not enough space on our campus for a football practice field, even if we compete somewhere else.
Zarges also commented that he is “not looking at new [sport] additions for at least three years.”
What are those who desire athletics, but not the few sports that we offer, to do? Where do the swimmers, track stars, or field hockey players go?
One suggestion is clubs. ENC allows charters for most clubs, providing a small stipend and support. Any inventive sport, (Quidditch, anyone?) and many classic sports, can first begin as a club where students can get together and perform. Men’s golf is the perfect example of a sport that began as a club, then was elevated to an official sport.
Zarges does say that there a number of sports that could start off as clubs and eventually work their way toward official ENC sports.
Interested in being athletic, and starting a unique club? Tai Kwon Do, fencing, and track and field are some options. Swimming could be available as a club through the YMCA facility, lacrosse could be a long-term goal, since it could not be played on our current field.
In terms of developing new sports programs on ENC’s campus, the biggest restriction is finding space. Many of these sports would also have to be introduced through the club system.
Diverse and unique sports are something that could boost enrollment, increase student morale and promote diversity in the athletic department. Students themselves have to be active in the campus-wide conversations about the introduction of new sports programs, especially if they utilize the existing tools available, like the club system.