By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
Top talent from the Mountain East Conference will take the field at Duvall-Rosier Field when Fairmont State University hosts the conference championships today and Saturday.
Next season, it will happen on a regular basis.
Fairmont State athletic director Tim McNeely announced that the Falcons will add women’s soccer next season. The team plans to play its first games in 2014.
“I think this is going to be a good opportunity for folks in the community to come out and see really good, high-level soccer and also celebrate the fact the Fairmont State University is now a soccer school,” McNeely said.
The decision to add a women’s soccer came after Fairmont State President Dr. Maria Rose and the board of governors commissioned a study into the athletic programs.
It found that the school could improve upon its compliance of Title IX, a law which guarantees equal educational opportunities to students at schools that receive federal funds.
“Soccer made a lot of sense for a lot of reasons,” McNeely said. “It will help with Title IX compliance, and there is a lot of interest in the community.”
McNeely said the move could open the door for Fairmont State to add other sports programs as well. Specifically, he said he is looking into adding women’s lacrosse.
He confirmed that several women’s scholarships would be added, but said an exact figure has not been established. He said it will not be the full 9.9 scholarships that Division II schools are allotted for women’s soccer, but he hopes to work toward that goal.
“With what’s going on with budget cuts in the state, we’re trying to move into those areas very gingerly,” McNeely said.
The Falcons will have to move quickly to get ready for next season. The first step, McNeely said, is to name a coach. Fairmont State has fielded applications from more than 90 interested candidates. He said he hopes to make the announcement in the near future.
“We will be announcing a coach very soon. If not this week, then certainly in the weeks to come,” McNeely said. “That coach has to hit the ground running and put together a team in a short amount of time.”
Email Mike DeFabo at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.