By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
While a final decision has yet to be made, Brigham Young University-Hawaii will likely add mens water polo to its athletic program next year, according to BYUH sports information director Scott Lowe.
In order to retain its NCAA Division II standing, BYUH needs to add a mens team sport to replace its mens soccer program, which was discontinued in November following the defection of 10 schools from the Pacific West Conference.
In order to compete in Division II, schools are required to field four mens and four womens teams. In addition, two of each must be team sports. Currently, BYUH competes in mens basketball, cross country and tennis.
BYUH athletic director Randy Day has said the school was considering football, baseball, volleyball or water polo.
Lowe said water polo now appears to be the most attractive option because PacWest rival Chaminade also fields a team and because there is ample competition on the West Coast.
"There are zillions of teams in the Los Angeles area," Lowe said.
Lowe also said support for water polo within the schools neighboring North Shore community is strong, particularly at Kahuku High School, which already fields a team.
If BYUH does elect to adopt water polo, it will have to extend and deepen its on-campus pool to meet playing standards, Lowe said.
The school already has money earmarked for improvements to the pools piping, meaning the additional renovations could be carried out quickly and with minimal disruption, Lowe said.
Lowe said rumors that BYUH had decided on mens volleyball as the replacement sport are unfounded.
"Nothing is decided and anything can happen, but we have not heard any positive indication toward volleyball," he said.
According to Lowe, the lack of easily accessible competition locally and nationally makes volleyball an unlikely selection.
"Its a dying sport on the collegiate level," he said. "There just arent that many teams out there to play."
None of the PacWest schools currently fields a mens volleyball team.
Baseball is still a consideration, but finding a playing field could be a problem.
"There are no facilities on the North Shore," Lowe said. "Wed have to build an alternate facility and for that you would need significant land."
The amount of players needed to field a baseball team could also prove costly on road trips, Lowe said.
Football is not considered a serious option, he said.
BYUH needs to inform the NCAA of its intentions by the end of June, but Lowe said a decision will likely come much sooner to allow for recruiting, scheduling, and the building or upgrading of facilities.
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