Over a year ago on Sept. 28, 2021, the University of Indianapolis issued a press release discussing how the university was in the process of adding club sports. This was to give students the opportunity to be a part of athletic competition without a full time commitment. The process of introducing club sports has gone well over the last year, according to Associate Vice President for Athletics and Campus Wellness Bob Brubeck.
“I think we are giving the students [a] great opportunity to be able to participate in the sports, and some of the sports have been able to do a few more things in the fall semester than others, but we are still kind of in our infancy,” Brubeck said. “We are looking to grow from where we are now.”
Within the year, club sports has grown and coaches have been hired to help with the recruiting process, according to Brubeck. According to the press release, there are nine club sports: dance, cheer, women’s wrestling, co-ed water polo, co-ed ultimate frisbee, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s powerlifting, men’s and women’s bowling and men’s volleyball. Brubeck said that when the dust settles with the club sports they will know if there is a possibility that new sports will be added.
“I think we are going to pump the brakes a second, get this the way we want it to be so we can offer the quality experience that we want it to be rather than just try to keep adding, adding and adding,” Brubeck said. “I want to make sure that it works before and know that we are supported the way we need to.”
The club bowling season is underway, with professional bowler Donna Branham coaching. She started bowling at age 10 and has continued to win tournaments, and she is still bowling in a senior league now. Branham said, she was hired in February and started recruiting for the season then.
“We had things posted online, trying to recruit because the window of time that we had to recruit was extremely short…,” Branham said. “So going out and finding bowlers to fill teams was tough. But we do have two full teams, we have a men’s and a women’s team.”
Branham said she has two goals this season. The first goal being to acclimate the team to what collegiate bowling truly is like because some of the bowlers have never been in a league before. The second goal is to try to give them good competition so they can get used to what it is like.
“Right now we’re in that phase of learning, I will say even for myself as a new collegiate coach…, I think this is a good year to do a pilot and then maybe next year and we will have more time to recruit,” Branham said. We’ll be able to go out and get more athletes involved and hopefully when people find out on campus, [they] will find out that we have a bowling team.”
As for the future and the semester ahead, Bruneck said it is difficult to give a direct answer on what each of them look like and that there are eight separate answers for each sport. Joining a club sport gives the student body an opportunity to join a sport without the commitment of an NCAA Division II athlete.
“…I think that this gives students at the university an opportunity to be involved in something that is in-between DII student athlete and NCAA athlete, and that is more structured than intramural,” Brubeck said.