Students make big transitions when entering college. No longer living at home, having to eat meals at scheduled times and making new friends are just a few of the changes students experience. Some students have an additional adjustment to make: life without sports.
For students who played a sport for the majority of their adolescence, and want to continue their athletic career, Pacific junior varsity programs may be the answer.
Pacific implemented a JV program for the 2014-2015 year.
“A lot of students would like to have the opportunity to play in college,” said Athletic Director Ken Schumann. “It gives the coaches an opportunity to recruit more students to play the sport they enjoy and grew up doing.”
In fall 2013, the athletic department hired four coaches to recruit and coach the JV baseball, softball and men’s and women’s basketball.
The Pacific football team also has a new JV program, but Schumann said the team already had enough students participating in the sport so the team didn’t need to hire another coach to recruit more players.
The athletic department budgeted for the JV programs which was balanced by the number of students recruited.
“We had a recruiting goal of 55 total to participate. We were able to bring in 63,” said Schumann.
Aside from giving students additional athletic opportunities, having JV programs helps the university reach its enrollment goals.
“It puts us in a position where we’re offering programs where other institutions are not,” said Schumann.
In the Northwest Conference, Schumann said only Linfield College and George Fox University have JV programs, yet not for every sport. By fall 2015, Schumann said volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer will also have JV programs.
“We’re breaking ground and trying to be the forefront of [JV programs],” said Schumann.
One of the coaches originally hired as a JV coach, Liz Yandall, took over for former softball Head Coach Tim Hill, and has enjoyed the new JV program.
“I think that the JV programs here brought more students into experience Pacific life that may have not had that opportunity somewhere else,” said Yandall.
The program has enriched the student athlete environment, Yandall said. She has enjoyed seeing some of the women who came to play JV softball performing better than expected.
“Having these extra JV games will get these players out and at bat which they wouldn’t normally have had,” said Yandall. “It will make us more competitive in the long run.”