Athletics Program Set to Launch at A&M International Next Fall

The addition of an athletics program at Texas A&M International University took center stage Monday afternoon as the University launched its plans for the program to begin next Fall.

President Dr. Ray Keck said the addition of athletics on campus will help to create a richer University experience for students.

"Our University is growing and the addition of an athletics program represents the latest and one of the most important indications of that growth. Our new athletics program will enrich the University experience for all students and offer all opportunities to be involved in either varsity or intramural sports. We're looking forward to a growing and diverse athletics experience for our students and our community," Dr. Keck said.

Athletics Director Steve Garippa said the University plans a phased entry into sports as follows:

Fall 2002 - Mens and Womens Soccer and Womens Volleyball.

Spring 2003 - Mens and Womens Golf.

Fall 2003 - Mens and Womens Basketball

Spring 2004 - Mens and Womens Tennis

Spring 2005 - Mens Baseball and Womens Softball.

Garippa said the phased in program maximizes the University's resources while anticipating future growth.

"We surveyed students and the University community and took a hard look at our current and planned resources and feel that the selection of these sports programs will help us to maximize both. We also hope to offer Cross-Country and Track and Field programs as demand, funding and facilities make their implementation possible," he explained.

Garippa said the University will initially seek membership in the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and participate in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC).

"We feel that both of these memberships really expand on our vision of promoting the education and development of the student athlete and best reflect our goals as an institution of higher education," Garippa explained.

The RRAC includes 13 institutions in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Among Texas members of the RRAC are the University of Texas-Permian Basin, Texas College, Wiley College, Houston Baptist University, Huston-Tillotson and Paul Quinn College among others.

Garippa said a special athletics link on the University's home page describing varsity and intramural programs at the University will be in place in February.

Garippa also introduced College of Education associate professor Dr. Randel D. Brown who has been appointed as the University's Faculty

Athletics Representative (FAR).

The University's Cheer Squad set the tone for the afternoon announcement and president Dr. Ray Keck welcomed the crowd including students, faculty, staff and community members.

For additional information, please visit Athletics Program offices in the Kinesiology-Convocation Building, room ____, phone 956.326.2891 or email sgarippa@tamiu.edu.

Additional information on the NAIA or RRAC can be obtained by visiting www.naia.org.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu