FORT COLLINS – Colorado State University Director of Athletics Mark Driscoll today announced the addition of women’s water polo as the school’s 16th sport program which will begin competition in the 2004-05 academic school year.
The announcement brings Colorado State into compliance with NCAA legislation requiring all Division IA institutions to sponsor a minimum of 16 sport programs.
“We conducted thorough research before arriving at this decision. In each case when examining a potential sport program, we based our evaluation on four primary elements: bringing our program into NCAA compliance by the deadline set previously; maintaining gender equity and Title IX compliance; minimizing the financial impact on the entire athletics program and its resources; and having the ability to be a competitive sport program that would be reflective of the success that all of our sport programs currently enjoy,” Driscoll said.
“During the past several months the athletics department administrative staff visited with a variety of groups about this decision. It was a chance to open very effective and beneficial dialog about the process.
“We believe that this decision is based on what is best immediately and in the future for our athletics program.” John Mattos, who has been the school’s women’s swimming coach for two
decades, will now also become the women’s water polo coach and will immediately begin recruiting scheduling-athletes and scheduling water polo events.
“We believe women’s water polo will continue the long and successful tradition that Colorado State has enjoyed in aquatics. Additionally, we have the coaching staff, the facility, and a significant number of student-athletes already in place to begin competition. We will complement those individuals already within our program by actively recruiting to meet our competitive needs.” Mattos has established Colorado State’s program as one of the top in the nation. He previously coached Amy Van Dyken, a four-time Olympic Gold Medalist in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Ga. Mattos has earned national and international acclaim as a coach with various national swim teams and will serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. World Championships in 2004.
At present, 29 NCAA Division I institutions sponsor women’s water polo, competing primarily in two divisions: the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, composed primarily of institutions on the West Coast, and the Collegiate Water Polo Association, with schools located in the East.
San Diego State University, a member of the Mountain West Conference along with Colorado State, sponsors women’s water polo and competes in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The women’s water polo season, which requires a minimum of 10 team competitions, begins in March, with conference championships scheduled in late spring.
Squad size is normally between 16-to-20 student-athletes, of which 8-to-12 will be current members of Colorado State’s women’s swimming team. Under NCAA guidelines, women’s water polo can award eight full-ride athletic scholarships.