Football and women’s lacrosse may be coming to Texas Wesleyan in the near future.
The Wesleyan community will come together to talk about the possibility with two listening sessions this fall.
The first is 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Thursday in the Bragan Fellowship Hall in Polytechnic United Methodist Church; a second will be held at the same time and the same place on Nov. 12. Both sessions are open to all faculty, students and staff.
“I think we have a responsibility to look at the possibility of both these potential programs,” Athletic Director Steve Trachier said. “Are the programs right for us, will it benefit us financially or do the opposite and can we support these teams? These are the questions we have to ask.”
Trachier said that a task force has been created to determine if adding the teams is best for Wesleyan. The task force, appointed by university President Frederick Slabach, includes Dr. Steven J. Daniell; Pam Rast, Ph.D.; Student Government Association President Abbey Borghee; Dean of Students Dennis Hall; Dr. Jon Crook; Dr. Ben Miller; Dr. Sinan Yldrim; Dr. Trisha Anderson; Dr. Michelle Payne; and board of trustees members Jerry Wood and Doug Compton, according to txwes.edu.
“There have been preliminary meetings already to discuss the idea,” Trachier said.
Trachier said he thinks right now the job of the task force is listen.
“The task force is to collect all of the questions from people and to find out those answers,” Trachier said. “Because right now we don’t even know what all the questions are.”
Slabach believes that the biggest impact of football and lacrosse could be seen in student life.
“One of the things I hear from students is that there aren’t many things going on here on campus on the weekends,” he said. “Adding these two new programs would definitely help solve that problem.”
Trachier said that Wesleyan has no intention of leaving the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics if the university decides to add football and lacrosse.
“We have looked at the pros and cons of NAIA vs NCAA Division III and studied that intensively,” Trachier said. “And we strongly believe we belong in the NAIA right now.”
Trachier said that there are plenty of NAIA schools similar to Wesleyan with football teams, including Southwestern Assemblies of God, Wayland Baptist University and Bacone College.
“Those are all schools about our size that look like us and have football programs,” Trachier said. “We look like a Division III school in some aspects such as size and tuition and most of those schools carry football as well.”
Trachier said that next step is to gauge support from the school and community around Wesleyan.
“Adding programs as big as these two is sure to bring questions,” Trachier said. “Now I think we are trying to measure the desire to have these programs.”
Wesleyan’s football team disbanded in 1941 during World War II after being active on campus since 1892. The 1936 team went 8-2-1 and the overall Wesleyan record was 137-58. Wesleyan has never had a women’s lacrosse team.