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Urbana Adds Wrestling and Men’s Volleyball to Athletics
Director of Communications and Public Relations
Web site: www.urbana.edu
Urbana, OH (August 17, 2017)
Urbana University’s Executive Vice President, Dr. Christopher Washington, and Executive Director of Athletics, Larry Cox announced the addition of wrestling and men’s volleyball into the University’s intercollegiate athletics programs. Today’s announcement follows the University’s June announcement that added acrobatics and tumbling to the athletics line up.
The integration of wrestling and men’s volleyball to the University’s NCAA Division II offerings, align with the popularity of the sports in the region and provide the opportunity for the region’s high school athletes to continue their passion for their sport while earning a degree.
“Wrestling has such a strong level of performance here in the area and men’s volleyball aligns perfectly within the framework of our Athletics structure,” said Dr. Washington. “This is exciting evidence that our academic and athletics programs are moving forward together by providing opportunities to students in areas of interest that are currently underserved."
NCAA statistics indicate that wrestling (all three college divisions combined) has the 3rd largest percentage of first-generation college bound students. However, despite the fact that wrestling is the 6th most popular high school sport, there are only 60 NCAA Division II teams.
By adding the sport to its offerings, Urbana University will compete against the following Regional D2 wrestling teams: Notre Dame College, West Liberty, Wheeling Jesuit, Ashland, Lake Erie, Findlay, Tiffin, Gannon, Mercyhurst, East Stroudsburg, Kutztown, Millersville, Shoppensburg, Seton Hill, Alderson Broaddus, Ohio Valley, University of Indianapolis, Bellarmine, Davenport, King and Cumberland.
Boys Volleyball has grown in popularity, with more than 55,000 students playing, making it the second fastest growth rate for a youth boys sports. In addition to its growth, out of 19 men’s sports listed in NCAA research on academic performance, men’s volleyball ranks third, behind only hockey & gymnastics.
Urbana University will schedule against D1 and D2 programs, which compete for the National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship. UU will begin play in 2018-19 as an independent and then eventually will join the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA). Current MIVA members include: Ohio State (2016 national champion), Ball State, Fort Wayne, Lewis, Grand Canyon, Loyola (IL), McKendree, Lindenwood and Quincy. Other regional teams include Alderson-Broaddus, Charleston (WV), Penn State, St. Francis (PA) and George Mason.
"I’m excited to add wrestling and men’s volleyball for the opportunity it provides young men and women in the region to continue playing the sport that they love while getting their education close to home," Director of Athletics Larry Cox said. "We look forward to incorporating these two sports into our University community while remaining focused on our continued commitment to developing our student athletes to become well-rounded persons who are prepared for fulfilling careers, leadership and service to humanity.”
The Urbana University Department of Athletics has already begun the search for the inaugural wrestling head coach and will start the men’s volleyball search in the near future.
About Urbana University - A Branch Campus of Franklin University
Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University, prepares students for successful and professional careers within a caring and supportive environment. Regionally well known for education and teacher preparation programs, Urbana was founded in 1850 and acquired by Franklin in 2014. Urbana’s 128-acre, residential campus nestled in heart of Ohio provides a background for students actively engaged in campus activities through 20 student-led academic, professional, performing arts, social and service organizations. Blue Knights athletics includes 17 NCAA Division II sports and three intercollegiate club sports. Urbana University is a division of Franklin University, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.