The move to Division I gives more athletes a chance to play

Chris Mangan

Chris Mangan

Not only has the Jackrabbits’ move to Division I helped the bigger sports, such as football and basketball; it has increased the scholarships for the minor sports, such as golf, swimming and tennis.

While the football team and basketball teams are close to full scholarships, there are still several small programs that are increasing their scholarship levels each year. Most of the teams started at less than a full scholarship to give out to their full team, usually 8-10 athletes.

“The Division I move has been tremendous help,” golf coach Jared Baszler said. “We’ve gone from like 96 full scholarships overall to something like 210 this year. That’s just a tremendous attribute to our administration and the job they have done. We aren’t going to stop here. All of our sports are projected to get increases, those aren’t set in stone by any means, we need to raise the money to do that.”

The men’s and women’s tennis teams had zero scholarships before the jump to D-I, the women’s tennis team now has two-and-a-half scholarships and the men’s tennis team has one scholarship. Both teams are also looking at an increase in scholarships next year. The women’s team will eventually move to four-and-a-half scholarships while the men will be at two, head coach Don Hanson said.

Golf had some scholarships to give out but not much. The women’s team has moved from half a scholarship to four-and-a-half and will be projected to move to six in three years. The men’s team had a quarter of a scholarship when the Jacks moved up to Division-I five years ago and that remained until this year. They are currently at one scholarship and are projected to increase in future years.

“The Division I move has been great for this golf program,” Baszler said. “To have success at this level, as one of our smaller programs is an attribute to the administration as well.”