PITTSBURGH — Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh could add a men’s and women’s ice hockey teams as part of a partnership between the school and the Island Sports Center, a complex located on an island in the Ohio River.
The Pittsburgh Business Times reported that elevation of men’s ice
hockey from its current club status hinges on the creation of several new women’s sports teams.
Robert Morris currently has a men’s club hockey team that won the Division III national club championship last year.
The Business Times said the school wants to elevate the hockey team to the NCAA Division I level to bring more attention to the school, but would have to add several women’s teams to stay within Title IX guidelines.
One of those teams the school wants to add is a women’s ice hockey team.
Robert Morris president Ed Nicholson told the newspaper the school does not have a gender equity problem and could avoid one by offering more women’s sports.
“There are some men’s programs we’d like to start, but unless we start women’s programs we can’t, since we don’t want to get out of balance,” Nicholson said. “So, we are looking over the next three years to start eight new sports, especially sports for women.”
The Business Times said a proposed timetable includes establishing the women’s team in the 2003-2004 school year and elevating the men’s team to varsity status the following year. Other sports that could be added are bowling and golf for women, and lacrosse teams for both men and women.
The partnership between Robert Morris and the sports center involves a place for the hockey teams to play. Nicholson said the school wouldn’t build its own arena because of space and financial constraints.
Bruce Crocker, president and CEO of the Island Sports Center, told the newspaper the sports center and Robert Morris are still negotiating, but details of the proposed partnership could be announced within the next two weeks. It would involve other teams besides hockey using facilities at the center.