The next major UTSA sport? Let’s go for a swim


Ethan Pham

The UTSA Recreational Wellness Center’s Aquatics Center was costructed in 2016. The Aquatics center plays host to an eight-lane lap pool.

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

Within the past decade, UTSA sports have grown by leaps and bounds. Over the last 10 years, we have seen the beginning of our football program and the construction of our new $41.5 million athletics facility. It is clear UTSA athletics is on the way up and leadership appears to be fully invested in making UTSA a bigger force in sports than we have been in the past. With this in mind, though, what about the future? What should be the next scholarship sport for UTSA?

By no means should UTSA focus on expanding programs at this point in time; COVID-19 has impacted budgets for every school in America and UTSA is not an exception. However, once the situation stabilizes, it may be time to think of adding a new sport to the program. The question of which sport to add raises a number of interesting possibilities, with men’s soccer and men’s volleyball standing out as two sports that seem like no-brainers for expansion. However, the question is complicated by Title IX, and its requirement that institutions offer both genders an equal opportunity to play, as well as both genders receiving athletics scholarship assistance in amounts proportional to their participation. This means that if one of the sports like men’s soccer or men’s volleyball was added to the athletic program, another sport would be needed in the women’s program and there are not as many obvious choices there.

Selecting a sport that can serve both genders simultaneously, thus making it much easier to balance out the university’s Title IX obligations, is the easiest choice to make. After evaluating which sports would fit this criterion, one option that jumps out as a natural fit is competitive swimming/diving. For the women’s program, the sport seems a clear winner and would not take that much effort to integrate into our offered programs. Conference USA already counts women’s swimming and diving as one of their official sports with a championship and there are a number of opponents in our region waiting, including Rice University, the University of North Texas and the University of Incarnate Word. The men’s side of things may be a little trickier when it comes to conference alignment as Conference USA does not have a men’s swimming and diving division, but one intriguing possibility is a return to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) for UTSA. The WAC, of course, hosted the football program for one season in 2012-13.

Collegiate swimming and diving is a winter season sport, an area where UTSA does not have too many sports in action, so this would also serve to flesh out and bolster the athletic calendar for UTSA.

While COVID-19 pandemic has ensured we won’t see a new sport joining the UTSA athletics program anytime soon, when that day does come, men’s and women’s collegiate swimming and diving is a natural fit.