Clarksville, Ark.-The University of the Ozarks Board of Trustees on Saturday approved a proposal to add women's fastpitch softball to the university's athletic program.
By Larry Isch, Director of Public Relations The plan is for Ozarks to begin women’s softball competition in the Spring of 2001. The addition of women’s softball allows Ozarks to meet an NCAA requirement that its member institutions have five female varsity athletic programs by the 2000-2001 academic year. U of O already fields women’s teams in basketball, tennis, cross country and soccer. Ozarks Athletic Director Jack Jones said women’s softball will also help the university achieve better gender equity in its athletic program. Currently, 69 percent of U of O’s student-athletes are men. "Women’s softball will give us another 15 to 20 female student-athletes and that should make our male-to-female ratio pretty balanced," Jones said. "It’s also a great opportunity to increase enrollment and add a sport that is really growing in popularity." American Southwest Conference to play women’s fastpitch softball. Eight universities in Arkansas currently play the sport, including University of Central Arkansas, Williams Baptist College, Arkansas Baptist College, Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University and UA-Monticello. "Another factor was that there are several schools, both in our conference and in our region that already play softball," Jones said. "I think the interest is going to keep growing, so it’s a good time to add." Jones said the university will try to hire a coach by the spring, giving that person a chance to recruit for the 2000-20001 season. A softball field that has been used for intramurals will be renovated for use by the program, Jones added.