By Kallie Sohm
Trevecca officials want add 100 additional athletes to the student body within the next four years with the addition of junior varsity and club teams.
“When you look at the size of Trevecca, we are about 100 to 150 athletes bellow what would be average for a school our size – that doesn’t have football,” said Dan Boone, university president.
The new 100 athletes would join the nearly 200 athletes currently playing for Trevecca. Boone said athletics take a lot to maintain financially. They are looking for ways to bring more athletes to campus in a less costly way. He said that the way to do that right now is through junior varsity teams and club sports, like the new fishing team.
No additional scholarship funds will be given to teams for junior varsity teams to recruit players. Mark Elliot, athletic director, said that the athletic financing is complicated and based off percentages but there is a “kick back” to the athletic department when there are more athletes enrolled.
Men’s basketball started its junior varsity program this year with a test year. Elliot said bringing in more players made it possible for men’s basketball to hire an additional assistant coach.
Collin Randoll, freshman in the men’s basketball junior varsity team, said that junior varsity games have helped introduce him and his teammates to college level talent. He said junior varsity play is preparing them for their up-coming years.
Women’s basketball, men’s soccer and women’s soccer are all expected to have junior varsity teams in the 2019-2020 academic year.
Danny Leavy, head men’s soccer coach said their junior varsity team will be modeled after reserve teams seen in professional soccer clubs.
“For us, it is very hard to develop guys because our season is so compact and intense,” said Leavy, “If [a player] is outside of the top 15-16 players on the team it’s really hard to get significant playing time which is the best way to develop as a player.”
Junior varsity games would provide the opportunity for those outside of the team’s top 15 game experience. Nicolas Reinhard will be coaching the junior varsity team next year. Leavy said coaching junior varsity is a great opportunity for graduate assistant coaches, who are pursuing a career in coaching, to gain experience as well.
Elliot said that the women’s soccer team is planning to take a blended team approach to junior varsity. Some ladies would play both varsity and junior varsity. Meaning a larger team with some players who do not dress for varsity and some who do; as opposed to the men’s program having two separate teams.
Ben Tyree, head softball coach, said he has also considered developing a junior varsity program. He said that next year’s team would only need three or four more walk-on players to be able to create a junior varsity team.
Tyree said he is concerned about money, facilities and coaching staff in regards to starting a junior varsity team.
“Obviously, our [athletic] facilities are quite limited and even more so with softball then with some of the other sports,” said Tyree.
Boone, Elliot and Leavy all mentioned that it is harder to recruit female athletes to play on junior varsity teams. Elliot speculated that many female athletes feel playing without a scholarship or varsity playing time is not worth the time commitment.
“You really have to look for that person who just simply loves competing at the sport and it really doesn’t matter to them whether they are playing varsity or jv; they just want, during college, to continue to play ball,” said Boone, “… it [junior varsity] gives us some opportunities to say yes to more of those kind of students.”