Leafs News
Goshen College To Add Men's And Women's Golf, Men's Volleyball In 2018
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Men's Volleyball - Fri, Nov. 4, 2016

GOSHEN, Ind. — Goshen College plans to increase its varsity sports offerings to 16 when it reintroduces a golf program that dates to 1962 and becomes the fifth four-year school and second NAIA men's program in Indiana to sponsor intercollegiate men's varsity volleyball, the GC Athletic Department announced Friday. Both sports plan to begin full varsity play in the 2018-19 academic year.

"We are committed to creating an environment that offers a diverse array of opportunities for our students to enhance their educational experience. At Goshen College, our student-athletes excel in the classroom and on the playing field as they are consistently recognized as scholar athletes by the Crossroads League, are recipients of the NAIA Champions of Character award and successfully graduate," stated President Jim Brenneman, "Intercollegiate sports provide educational, athletic and social development and provides a sense of belonging for our entire campus community and we are pleased to announce our intent to establish these new programs."

The addition of men's and women's golf will mean that the Maple Leafs once again compete in every sport that the Crossroads League offers and, moreover, that all 10 conference schools participate in all 15 conference sports.

More than 220,000 students participate in high school golf programs nation-wide, making it the eighth-most popular sport for girls at that level. In Indiana, 71 percent of high schools sponsor girls golf, while 90 percent sponsor the sport for boys with more than 360 boys programs. Between boys and girls, more than 6,000 Hoosiers play high school golf.

"It is exciting to be able to bring golf back to our athletic offerings. The sport has a long tradition regionally, nationally and at Goshen College," said Gleason. "We are also thrilled to help spearhead the growth of men's volleyball as a collegiate sport and provide another collegiate opportunity to high school student-athletes who want to continue their careers, both athletically and academically."

GC volleyball will compete in the NAIA Men's Volleyball Association and is expected to join either the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference or the Mideast Volleyball Conference as an Associate Member. Thirty-two NAIA schools will sponsor men's volleyball in 2016-17: the season begins in January with the national invitational tournament each April.

Men's volleyball is booming at the high school level as well, with the number of participants quadrupling since 2006. Indiana boasts more than 70 high school programs but, as of the 2016-17 academic year, only four collegiate volleyball programs, of which three are in NCAA Division I.

Among the top seven states by high school boys volleyball participation, three (Illinois, Michigan and Ohio) border Indiana, while two more (Pennsylvania and Virginia) represent regions from which Goshen has historically had high enrollment.

"An enormous factor in a student's college choice is the opportunity to continue to compete in the sports they love and have invested so much time and effort into," said Josh Gleason, athletic director. "Goshen College strives to develop the many facets of people prepared to affect change in the world around them. We are excited to be offering more ways for students to combine their passion for their sport with the life-changing education we offer."

Recruiting for the three new programs will begin immediately with coaches and student-athletes starting full-time on campus next year. For more information on joining the Maple Leafs, please contact Gleason at [email protected] or (574) 535-7491.

The addition of three varsity teams in two sports forms part of an overall institutional enrollment and athletic strategic plan which also includes increasing roster sizes in baseball, softball, cross country, track and field, women's volleyball and basketball, while also increasing investment in areas such as facilities and staffing. GC is already in the process of phasing in junior varsity teams in men's and women's soccer.

"We have worked extensively as a staff and administration in defining strategic goals to support our core values of athletic excellence, academic achievement, sportsmanship, student-athlete development, service and faith," Gleason said. "We believe these additions will be instrumental in providing an outstanding experience for student-athletes in our current programs as well as an expanded and diverse group of future student-athletes."

Goshen College is an affordable, nationally-ranked Christian liberal arts college in Northern Indiana known for leadership in intercultural and international education, sustainability and social justice. The Maple Leafs sponsor 13 current varsity sports, which compete in the NAIA and the Crossroads League while continuing a history of intercollegiate athletics that dates back to 1954. Goshen's intercollegiate athletic offerings for women predate the passage of Title IX by nearly a decade.