South Florida’s colleges and universities continue to grow athletics programs
by Walter Villa Miami Herald Writer December 14, 2022, 12:21 pm
Barry University added five sports last month. In September, Nova Southeastern University added two new sports and brought back women’s rowing. And then there’s St. Thomas University, which has added 14 sports in the past four years, growing its athletics program to 28. That’s more sports than any other college or university in South Florida.
STU president David A. Armstrong, who was hired in August of 2018, said the athletic program has helped grow his school’s undergraduate enrollment from 740 to 1,600 in the past four years. “No margin, no mission,” Armstrong told the Herald. “It’s a business. And the fastest way to grow the business is through athletics.”
One of Armstrong’s first big moves at STU was to start a football program in 2019, and the Bobcats have gone 9-2 in each of the past two seasons under coach Bill Rychel. “I love athletics, and I understand it,” said Armstrong, who played college football as an offensive lineman at Mercyhurst University. “But the most important part is that it increases revenue. It brings more students into the residence halls and more students paying tuition. “If you can balance all those things, you can increase enrollment and community spirit, and that’s why we have so many sports.”
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