When ASU announced its club hockey team was making the jump to the NCAA level, the University was required to add additional women's sports to offset the Title IX implications of adding another men's sport.
First, in April, came women's triathlon. On Wednesday, athletic director Ray Anderson told The State Press that women's lacrosse is "very likely" going to be the second.
“We don’t want to be the largest public institution in the country with only 22 varsity sports," Anderson said. "Now we’re at 23 with hockey. We’ll be at 24 with triathlon. And very likely go to 25 with women’s lacrosse by this time next year.”
The $32 million raised to fund the hockey team also included the money to fund the women's sports needed to match the Title IX equality requirements.
University president Michael Crow said in an interview with The State Press editorial board in April that the two sports ASU was considering adding were women's crew and women's lacrosse, but the additional expenses related with crew made lacrosse a more likely decision.
While Crow has focused on increasing ASU's academic merit, Anderson has said his views for the athletic department match Crow's educational vision for excellence. On Wednesday, Anderson again compared ASU to the likes of Stanford and UCLA.
"Twenty-five's not good enough," he said. "I see Stanford and UCLA and Ohio State, and even some of the Ivy League schools sponsoring 31, 32, 34 varsity sports. I want to compete in anything and everything Stanford and UCLA and anybody else wants to compete in."
The biggest obstacle to continue adding sports is fundraising. With Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey reducing education funding in the state, there's more of a burden on Anderson to draw in private funds. He said he doesn't want to take state money, just for the sake of adding additional sports.
“We’ll add as we’re able, fiscally, to do it," Anderson said. "But there’s no question in my mind I see this place and where we are geographically, and think about men’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s crew, women’s field hockey, men’s gymnastics coming back.”
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