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Gallaudet University prepares to add men's volleyball as a club sport this spring

Gallaudet University prepares to add men's volleyball as a club sport this spring

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Volleyball will soon be played in the Spring semester at Gallaudet University as the athletics department prepares to add men’s volleyball as a club sport for 2012 as announced today by Director of Athletics Michael Weinstock. If the GU men’s volleyball club team has a successful spring and the participant numbers are high the sport will be elevated to varsity status for Spring 2013. GU currently sponsors 14 varsity sports.

“A steadfast tradition of being a college student is being involved in your campus. The addition of men’s volleyball will give more Gallaudet students a chance to become a student-athlete and for others, including the campus community, a chance to support another Bison sport,” said Gallaudet University President Alan Hurwitz. “I look forward to seeing the men’s volleyball team take the court in 2012.”

Currently, there are three members of the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) that sponsor men’s volleyball they include Lancaster Bible College, SUNYIT and Wells. The addition of Gallaudet and two other members would give the conference six programs for 2013.

“The student body has asked for us to explore adding men’s volleyball to our athletic offerings and we have listened and support their idea,” said Weinstock. “It is now up to the students to come out and participate in this club sport and show its support for this program if we want to compete officially in 2013.”

Weinstock will start a search for a head coach for the men’s volleyball club this fall.

This is not the first time Gallaudet fielded a men's volleyball team as the Bison had a championship caliber program back in the 1970's when they won four straight Potomac Intercollegiate Conference championships (1974-77). In 1975, the Bison were a participant in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national tournament. GU's men's volleyball program was founded by Hall of Famer Robert Jackson in 1973. He led the Bison to five straight winning seasons after the pilot season.

Men’s volleyball is an emerging sport at the Division III level. This past January at the NCAA Convention the NCAA Division III Championships Committee announced the formation of the Association’s 89th championship. The first-ever NCAA Division III men’s volleyball championship will be held April 27-29 at a site to be determined.

In 2011, 43 teams competed at the Division I level, which included several Division II and III institutions playing at that level. At the Division III level 54 teams were fielded last season. George Mason University and Washington Adventist University field men’s volleyball teams locally, in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

The NCAA Division I men’s volleyball championship dates back to 1970 and has been dominated by UCLA with 19 national titles to its credit. Ohio State University won its first-ever men’s volleyball national championship last year.