Clemson announces addition of two new sports
|Thursday, June 17, 2021, 9:10 AM-|
Clemson University will add women’s lacrosse and women’s gymnastics as varsity programs in the next two years, Tigers athletic director Dan Radakovich announced on Thursday. Lacrosse is projected to begin competition in 2022-23, with gymnastics beginning competition in the 2023-24 academic year.
The move to start more women's athletic programs came after a review and then a reversal on ending the men's track program in April, after a pair of lawsuits were filed.
“We are thrilled to be able to add these two high-profile women's sports and expand opportunities for female student-athletes,” said Radakovich in a news release. “Over the past six weeks, we’ve heard from many representatives of various potential sports, and spent a great deal of time examining several possibilities and ultimately evaluating which sports would be best for Clemson Athletics. The combination of women’s lacrosse and gymnastics gives us the ability to compete for ACC and NCAA Division I Championships, and we know our community will embrace these new programs. We are grateful to the University for their partnership which will enable us to bring these new opportunities to Clemson.”
Clemson has added women’s golf and softball in recent years, while the University has also seen consistent growth in its female student population.
More than 100 schools sponsor NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse programs, one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation. The ACC is renowned for its women’s lacrosse programs, and an ACC program has advanced to the national title match in each of the past nine tournaments and currently claims the reigning national champions. The program aims to begin competition in the spring of 2023 and will call Historic Riggs Field home.
There are more than 60 NCAA Division I women’s gymnastics teams competing nationwide with three schools in the ACC currently sponsoring women’s gymnastics. With the addition of Clemson, the ACC has announced that women’s gymnastics will become the league’s 28th sponsored sport. In addition, eight SEC programs sponsor women’s gymnastics, providing Clemson with elite regional competition. Littlejohn Coliseum will be the competitive home for the program, expected to begin in January of 2024.
“The ACC continues to be committed to maximizing the educational and athletic opportunities for our student-athletes - in the classroom, in competition, and in life," ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said in a news release Thursday. "The addition of women’s lacrosse and women’s gymnastics at Clemson, combined with adding women’s gymnastics as the league’s 28th sponsored sport, only enhances our incredible collection of athletic programs.”
LETTER FROM DAN RADAKOVICH:
Dear Clemson Family,
Today, we celebrate the addition of women’s lacrosse and women’s gymnastics to the Clemson Athletics family and I hope that you will join us in welcoming two outstanding women’s sport opportunities to our Department.
Since our decision and announcement in April to fully reinstate men’s track and field and add women’s sports, we have been analyzing several potential combinations. We have heard from leaders and advocates from many of them. Their passion for their respective sports is evident, and I sincerely appreciate these individuals for providing additional, detailed information on each of the proposed sports to aid in our decision-making process.
Ultimately, the combination of women’s lacrosse and gymnastics gives us the ability to compete for ACC and NCAA Division I championships, as well as to address our ongoing gender equity considerations.
A little more than eight months ago, we reviewed our participation and gender equity numbers and faced a decision to either add 50 or more female participation opportunities or to reduce the number of male participation opportunities by the same number. Clemson Athletics’ gender participation ratio is required to mirror that of campus to ensure gender equity compliance. The addition of women’s sports programs was not practical last fall due to the financial realities at the time.
However, as the Department and University’s financial circumstances have improved and the University has made a commitment to help Athletics support new sports. Over the past ten years, we’ve successfully added women’s golf and softball as a way to maintain balance with campus demographics, and have enjoyed many great moments with those programs.
We are now reviewing concepts to build the necessary practice facilities for each of the programs, and hope to be able to announce plans in the coming months. Additionally, we’re looking forward to watching these programs call Historic Riggs Field and Littlejohn Coliseum home for competitions.
This is an exciting time for our department, and we hope to move forward with adding head coaches in the very near future so they may begin building championship-level programs.
We’re thankful for all of your support as our athletics’ program evolves, and we know that our loyal fans will embrace these new sport communities.
Thank you for your continued support of Clemson Athletics and IPTAY.
Director of Athletics