LITTLE ROCK (AP) -Hendrix College is moving forward with its effort to bring football back to the small liberal arts school.
The Board of Trustees has directed college administrators to develop a Division III program, assuming enough funds can be raised from outside sources. Women's lacrosse is also set to be added at the Conway school.
``We believe that Division III athletics enhances the whole person academically by providing opportunities to compete athletically against our peer institutions,'' Hendrix President J. Timothy Cloyd said. ``Adding these sports only increases the opportunity for our students to compete on the playing field.''
Hendrix has not played intercollegiate football since 1960. Cloyd announced last year that the school was setting up a committee to study whether to start the program again.
Athletic director Danny Powell said Tuesday the transition could take time because the school's facilities can't currently support a football team.
``I think it's a two-to-three year process, at least,'' Powell said.
The most obvious concern going forward involves finances. The trustees have insisted that football and women's lacrosse be added in a way that doesn't divert money from academics.
``Athletics have always been secondary to academics here at Hendrix, and that will never change,'' Cloyd said.
Cloyd said football fundraising would not interfere with the school's current $100 million capital campaign.
``We need to envision new ways to enhance the complete educational experience at Hendrix,'' said Marty Rhodes, a member of the Board of Trustees who helped chair the football study committee. ``After significant research and a comprehensive discussion, the board saw this as a constructive way to create new opportunities for future Hendrix College students.''
Arkansas has four Division I football schools, six in Division II and one junior college program, but no Division III football program. Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships.
Hendrix is one of three schools in the 12-member Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference without a football team. It would become the 10th football-playing school in the league.
The SCAC produced one of the college football's most memorable moments this past season, when Trinity University of Texas used 15 laterals after a completed pass on the final play of the game for an unlikely touchdown and 28-24 victory at Millsaps College of Mississippi.
Vance Strange, a former athletic director at Central Arkansas in Conway, played on Hendrix's most recent football team nearly five decades ago. He said he's been busy trying to contact other former players.
``I'm elated for us and tickled to death,'' Strange said. ``I think this is something that was kind of long overdue.''
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