Seattle University has announced that it will add women's rowing as the 20th sport sponsored by the Redhawk athletics department, effective at the start of the 2012-13 academic year.
Rowing will become the 11th women's sport offered at the varsity level at Seattle U. It has been offered as a club sport at the school for several years, competing in events such as the recent Raptor Cup.
The University decided to expand its women's varsity sport offerings after completing a comprehensive analysis of its athletics department as part of the NCAA certification process. The University considered several important factors in making the decision to add women's rowing, including the Pacific Northwest's rich rowing tradition and vibrant community, longstanding student interest in elevating women's rowing to varsity status, the success of the women's club team, strong alumni support, and the University's commitment to expanding women's varsity intercollegiate athletics participation opportunities.
"Competitive rowing has a great following within the Pacific Northwest, and we are looking forward to welcoming more student-athletes into our department," Bill Hogan, Seattle U Director of Athletics, said.
Seattle University joins the University of Washington, Washington State University, Oregon State University, Gonzaga University and University of Portland as the sixth women's Division I rowing program in Washington and Oregon. The Western Athletic Conference does not sponsor women's rowing, so Seattle U will compete as a Division I independent as it actively pursues opportunities to join a conference as an affiliate member.
Seattle University will immediately begin its search for a new head coach for the women's rowing program, with an expected start date of July 1, 2012. The women's rowing program will begin Division I intercollegiate competition in the fall of 2012.