Arizona State AD Wants to Add D-I Hockey
CHN Staff Report
Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson would love for his program to add Division I ice hockey, he said in an interview with the House of Sparky blog on SB Nation.
When reached for further comment by CHN, Anderson said through a spokesperson that he wants to wait a few months to comment further, so he can get more clarity on the issue.
There are no imminent plans, but this is the first time an Arizona State official has talked so openly about the idea.
Arizona State has a very successful team at the club level, having just won the ACHA national championship. And their games do well attendance-wise.
The state of Arizona once had a Division I team, at Northern Arizona, from 1980-86. Otherwise, the closest current college teams are in Colorado, and none of the other schools in Arizona State's conference — the Pac-12 — has an NCAA hockey team.
Anderson acknowledged that Arizona State would likely have to go the route of schools like Penn State, which used a large donation to start a men's and women's program together, build a rink, and endow the programs going forward.
"If the financial support is there, you can go field teams and satisfy Title IX equity. I believe that very firmly," Anderson told the blog.
"If somebody comes up and completely wants to fund men's ice hockey, it will be our responsibility as an institution to say, let's figure a way to financially go out and gather the support so that we can satisfy the Title IX and give other opportunities to women."
Other schools, like Bowling Green and Miami, have raised funds to perpetually endow the program. Estimates are that it takes approximately $40 million to do so, with an annual operating budget of approximately $1 million. Then there's the matter of building the new rink.
There is no concrete plan in place, and there is no donor on the horizon, but Anderson suggested he plans on making it a priority to figure it out.
"My personal goal, and I've stated this, is to be able to do that," Anderson told House of Sparky. "You're the largest public university in the country, and you can't compete in all the sports that Stanford and Ohio State and others compete in, I think personally, that is a disservice to the student body, and to our community of folks who have affinity for athletics."
Arizona State has a large alumni base near its Tempe, Ariz., location. And Anderson hopes that adding sports will help the university draw more students from around the world.
According to the blog, Arizona State has six former USHL players on its roster, by far the most of any ACHA team. Also, Connor Schmidt has left Ferris State after his sophomore year to play this season for Arizona State.