The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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UNT Dallas promising athletics and more in near future

UNT+Dallas+already+has+a+soccer+field+for+student+use.
SMU/Matthew Costa
UNT Dallas already has a soccer field for student use.

UNT Dallas already has a soccer field for student use. (SMU/Matthew Costa)

 

In a corner of land almost hidden from view lies what many big universities may scoff at: a small soccer field next to the campus of the University of North Texas at Dallas. To some, the field represents a half-hearted attempt to bring sports to the school, but to students and faculty there, the field is a building block for a robust athletic program in the future.

Since it became an independent center of education in 2009, officials say, UNT Dallas has made drastic changes to develop a better experience. One way to unite the student body may be through a sports program.

Although school-sponsored sports would be a tough monetary pill to swallow, UNT at Dallas has shown a lot of desire to expand itself both externally and internally.

“The Office of Student Life staff is 100 percent new from this time a year ago and that staff brings new ideas to the campus and student life,” said Jarred Cobb, director of the office of student life. “The school has done various outreach activities and initiatives to ensure a vibrant student life for UNT Dallas students.”

Student leadership has played a major role in helping to create an organization on campus called JagSport, an intramural group with a membership that fluctuates from six to 15 members each semester. UNT Dallas plans to offer intramurals that will allow students to compete against their peers on campus this fall.

“University athletics is in the master plan, but I would estimate it is much further down the line,” Cobb said.

UNT Dallas also offers students a small recreation center and workout room, but plans to expand the center are still in the beginning phases.

“First we want to develop a student focused, student developed recreation center,” Smith said. “It could give us a chance for students to develop into leadership roles.”

The university had a steady enrollment of about 2,000 students in each of the last two years, nearly 85 percent of them undergraduates. These undergraduate students will determine the future of the school’s sports and student life programs with their enthusiasm to see their school grow, said Doug Smith, vice president of university advancement.

Smith and Cobb both say the school’s immediate priorities range far beyond sports in order to increase enrollment, and the students seem to agree. Some even believe the school has too much of a community college feel.

“The priority would be actual dormitories, and then you can look for athletics,” senior Demetrius Booker said. “You tell people you go to UNT Dallas and people ask, ‘Where’s that?'”

The school also hopes to increase enrollment to somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 in the coming years on the 274-acre campus.

“We hope to be a major factor in the education of the north Texas region,” Smith said. “Hopefully reducing the cost [of tuition] will make that more attainable.”

Some students’ inability to easily get to school is a concern for the university. The city plans on expanding its DART rail next to the campus.

“When that line comes in, we hope to see a spike in attendance,” Smith said.

Students think attendance isn’t the only thing that will improve with the DART line.

“That could mean more classes and more majors could be offered,” said freshman Eduardo Garcia, a transfer from Mountain View College. “I think that will be a big help.”

The trouble with some of the ideas for athletics on campus is simply the cost to operate any real sports program.

“Athletics is something that needs cash rather than provides it,” Smith said. “If you look at funding for athletics around the country, it’s challenging. Whatever we develop, we have to be mindful of the cost.”

 

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