July 9, 2004
NACOGDOCHES, Texas-- Members of the Stephen F. Austin State University board of regents approved the fiscal year 2005 budget during recent meetings on the SFA campus. The budget includes initial funding for the return of a varsity baseball team and the establishment of a women's equestrian squad at the university.
The approved funds for each sport will be used to hire a coach and begin the process of planning and developing programs to begin competition in the fall of 2005.
"The approval of initial funding for baseball and equestrian starts the ball rolling for the return of baseball and the addition of a new women's sport at SFA. Funds to hire a new coach will be available Sept. 1, and we would like to have someone in place as quickly as possible," said athletics director Steve McCarty.
"The new coach will spend the next year planning, scheduling and organizing for the new program. He will also spend the coming months evaluating and recruiting talent, with scholarships being made available beginning in the fall of 2005," said McCarty.
A team will be put together to play a non-traditional schedule during the 2005 fall semester with Southland Conference competition in baseball beginning in 2006. SFA was the only member of the Southland Conference that did not sponsor a baseball team and will become the tenth team in what will be a 10-member SLC.
The approval of the initial funding for baseball comes almost 10 years after the board voted to drop baseball as a varsity sport at an August 1994 meeting. At that time, SFA dropped baseball and added women's soccer in a measure aimed at easing gender equity issues.
SFA currently sponsors an equestrian club team and will now begin the process of converting the squad into an intercollegiate sport.