Siena Heights University is beginning men’s and women’s bowling as an intercollegiate sport starting in the fall of 2010.
According to Saints Athletic Director Fred Smith, bowling is one of the nation’s fastest growing high school sports, including in Michigan, where there are currently nearly 300 programs. Smith said hiring a coach to coach both the men’s and women’s programs is his first priority.
“We hope to attract a coach who can lead us in being a collegiate leader in bowling in the state of Michigan, the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics,” Smith said.
Siena Heights would compete under the United States Bowling Congress Collegiate program, which hosts championships at both the team and individual levels. The NAIA currently does not sponsor bowling as a sport, however, Smith said almost 30 NAIA schools are expected to offer bowling by 2010-11. He said conference members such as Davenport, Indiana Tech and Northwest Ohio are currently developing bowling programs.
The collegiate bowling season runs from October through February, with postseason competition in March, April and May. The USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships are conducted annually in April and bring in the top 16 men’s and women’s teams to compete for national titles. There are also individual championships in May. The NCAA currently recognizes the USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships as the national governing body championship for intercollegiate bowling. USBC Collegiate membership entitles bowlers to participate in all certified intercollegiate conferences and tournaments. Standard collegiate competition utilizes a five-player team, with each team’s regular travel roster consisting up to eight players, Smith said.
“I am anticipating that our ideal numbers for bowling will be 10 student-athletes for each team,” Smith said. “One of the biggest advantages to adding bowling is not only enrollment, but also there are no on-campus facility requirements.”
Smith said he is exploring the possibility of having the SHU bowling teams compete at a local facility.
“This is a logical step in the development of our intercollegiate athletic offerings,” said Smith, who currently oversees eight men’s and seven women’s intercollegiate sports programs at SHU.
For more information about SHU Athletics, please call 517-264-7870 or visit www.shusaints.com.