Volleyball Making Comeback
Team returns in 2008 after being cut last spring
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SF State’s women’s volleyball team, which was cut after the defeat of a student fee referendum in 2004, may make a comeback in 2008.

School officials will wait until 2007, two years after a more recent student athletic fee increase has taken effect, to study whether resurrecting the team is feasible.

“At the two-year mark, (the athletic department) will see if all pieces fit back together, making it possible for us to reinstate programming,” said Athletic Director Michael J. Simpson. “From there, we will begin recruitment and coach searches. If all goes as planned, then the program should be back together by the third year.”

Simpson said the plan is general but flexible because of changing factors like enrollment levels, expenses and labor contracts. If these fluctuate or change, it would directly affect the plan to bring volleyball back and may cause delays.

The athletic department had to take into account many different factors when deciding which sport to revive. Some deciding factors included impacting as few student-athletes as possible, maintaining as many coaches as possible, complying with the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX, and preserving California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) and NCAA membership.

“Taking these objectives into account left us with few choices for which sports would fit all of these requirements,” Simpson said.

According to the NCAA Web site, 23 sports are sponsored over a three-season schedule during fall, winter and spring. Women’s volleyball is played in the fall season.

On the other hand, the CCAA sponsors a limited list of six sports – basketball, badminton, soccer, golf, cross country and volleyball - that includes both men and women’s programs for each of the six sports.

“We had to use the NCAA and CCAA requirements to figure out which sport fit both programs,” Simpson said.

Volleyball is the only sport that SF State previously had that satisfies both requirements out of the five sports that were cut. The five sports teams previously cut were women's tennis, women's volleyball, women's swimming, men's track & field and men's swimming.

As well as meeting the two-sport requirements, universities also have to meet NCAA gender-equity requirements according to their division. SF State is a Division II institution, so it has to sponsor at least four sports for men and four for women, with two teams sports for each gender, and each playing season represented by each gender.

Bringing women’s volleyball back would bring the team count to 12 teams, which would meet the university’s gender equity requirements. Though SF State is technically not in compliance now, the NCAA has given the school a pass in anticipation of the reformation of the women’s volleyball squad, according to Simpson.

Once the two-year mark is reached in 2007, Simpson said, the search for coaches will begin. The right candidate will possess a variety of skills, he added.

“We want someone who relates well to the athletes, is an outstanding teacher, well-grounded in the theories and technologies of sports, has good administration skills to deal with budgets and resource distribution, has a practical knowledge of conditioning and training, a good academic background, and has good ideas on how to generate revenue for the sport itself,” Simpson said.

Heather Sisneros, SF State’s previous women’s volleyball coach, declined to comment about the team’s possible return.

Aziza Bledsoe, currently a member of the track & field team, at one time played both volleyball and track for two years at SF State as one of Sisneros’s players. She declined to speculate on possible candidates for the coaching job.

“It’s great that it’s coming back, but it’s just a shame that it even got to the problem of cutting the teams in the first place,” Bledsoe said.

Fundraising is an important part of any sport, especially with the state of SF State’s budget and available funds for athletics, which will mainly come from the increase in student fees approved by SF State students. There are both generic ways to fundraise and specialized ways to fundraise for each sport, according to Simpson.

“Volleyball has the ability to bring a lot of people together,” Bledsoe said. “We didn’t do all that well (in terms of wins and losses) but we had a great fan base, great team unity and great school spirit, so lots of people came to watch.”

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PHOTO
Kirstina Sangsahachart | staff photographer
Retired volleyballs from the old SF State Gator volleyball team await the arrival of the new team in a few years.

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