WPU to Add Sports

February 13, 2018

William Penn Athletics Director Nik Rule is excited to announce the addition of men's and women's lacrosse and men's volleyball to the list of intercollegiate sports the University offers.

All three sports will begin competition in the 2019-2020 school year.  They are the first sports to be added since men's and women's bowling back in 2009-2010; WPU has added or reinstated seven programs since joining the NAIA in 2001-2002.

"We feel these three intercollegiate sports fit perfectly into our strategic plan for our University and the athletics department," Rule said.  "They are quickly-emerging sports in the NAIA with several schools in our conference and our region sponsoring them.  It is the perfect time to add them to our department and we have facilities that will immediately be able to accommodate each sport."

At the genesis of the programs, one head coach will be hired for the lacrosse teams, while another will be hired for men's volleyball.  National searches for both head coaches will begin immediately.  Once the coaches are hired, recruiting will commence immediately; as is with all other sports on campus, athletic scholarships will be available.

"The culture we are continuing to focus on revolves around building high-achieving athletic programs with coaches of high energy," Rule said.  "Our coaches cultivate success and create environments that lead to victories in the classroom and on the playing surface.  We look forward to finding leaders who share that same vision."

The lacrosse programs, whose seasons run from February through May, will compete at Lacey Complex Stadium.  Men's volleyball runs from January through April and the Statesmen will host their matches in the Penn Activity Center.


Currently, the NAIA does not sponsor lacrosse as a championship sport.  It is in invitational status (eight-team national tournament) with 32 schools offering it, including three in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Benedictine, Clarke, and Missouri Valley).  The Heart currently combines with the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and the teams play for a KCAC title.  The NAIA plans to have 40 teams to reach championship status.

In addition to facing NAIA programs, William Penn's schedule will likely feature a plethora of NCAA Division I schools as over 200 institutions sponsor it on both the men's and women's sides.

Nationally, there are over 180,000 boys (over 300 teams in Ill., Kan., Mo., and Wis.) and 88,000 girls (nearly 20,000 in Iowa, Ill., Mo., and Wis.) competing at the high school level.

The WPU coaching staff will be expected to fill a varsity roster for its first year in 2019-2020 and have both varsity and JV squads by 2020-2021.

"Lacrosse is a fascinating and very entertaining sport," Rule said.  "We believe fans of William Penn University, as well as our students, will really enjoy watching our lacrosse student-athletes compete at the stadium."


The NAIA also currently does not sponsor men's volleyball as a championship sport.  It is in invitational status (eight-team national tournament) with 34 schools offering it, including six in the Heart (Clarke, Culver-Stockton, Graceland, Grand View, Missouri Valley, and Mount Mercy).  Due to ample participation, the Heart offers a conference championship.  The NAIA plans to have 40 teams to reach championship status.

While boys' volleyball is not a sponsored sport in Iowa, it is quite popular throughout the Midwest (nearly 10,000 players in Ill., Mo., and Wis.) and nationally (55,000 players).

The WPU coaching staff will be expected to fill a varsity roster for its first year in 2019-2020 and have both varsity and JV squads by 2020-2021.

"Men's volleyball is a fast-paced and action-packed sport that is growing rapidly in popularity in the United States," Rule said.  "It will be played in the Penn Activities Center which will provide for a very unique venue on campus.  Our fans will love watching our student-athletes compete."

With the additions, William Penn will now offer a total of 24 intercollegiate sports, including baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's bowling, cheerleading, men's and women's cross country, dance, football, men's and women's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's indoor track and field, men's and women's outdoor track and field, men's and women's volleyball, and wrestling.

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