Mississippi University for Women Gets Approval to Reinstate Intercollegiate Athletics

Mississippi University for WomenIn 2002 the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus discontinued intercollegiate athletics after a devastating tornado destroyed a primary sports venue on campus. At that time, the university was a member of the Gulf South Conference and offered sports that included basketball, softball, volleyball, track and field, gymnastics, swimming, tennis, and badminton.

Now the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s membership committee has approved the university’s exploratory application to reinstate intercollegiate sports in the NCAA’s Division III. Beginning September 1, the university will begin a one-year term as a exploratory member, part of a five-year process to become a full member of Division III athletics. Exploratory institutions are assigned a mentor by the NCAA to answer questions and provide feedback. The university hopes to have teams compete during the 2017-18 academic year in baseball, softball, cross country, soccer, and volleyball.

Jason Trufant, director of athletics for the Mississippi University for Women, stated that the approval of the membership application “marks a huge step forward for Owl athletics. With the acceptance of our exploratory application, we have shown a commitment and desire to be part of the NCAA and its outstanding membership.”

Despite its name, the Mississippi University for Women has been coeducational since 1982. But women still make up 80 percent of the undergraduate student body. Offering intercollegiate sports for men undoubtedly will help the university achieve a greater degree of gender balance.

Filed Under: Women's Colleges


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