College adding women’s volleyball and men’s basketball programs
Dakota County Technical College announced that the Blue Knights baseball and fastpitch softball teams will move up from NJCAA Division III to NJCAA Division II and compete as independents. The National Junior College Athletic Association is the governing body of intercollegiate athletics for two-year colleges.
DCTC has been offering collegiate athletics for more than eight years. The move to DII is the product of a long-term strategic plan, which also includes broadening the college’s Athletics department with new sports programs in men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.
During recent months, the DCTC Student Senate, the college’s Faculty Shared Governance Council and a college-wide Athletics Task Force reviewed the plan, weighed available options and supported moving men’s baseball and women’s fastpitch softball to NJCAA Division II and changing current conference affiliations to independent. The groups also supported adding women’s volleyball and men’s basketball programs to the DCTC Athletics department.
“Moving fastpitch softball and baseball to NJCAA DII independent status and broadening our Athletics department to include women’s volleyball and men’s basketball arrive at the right time for Dakota County Technical College,” said DCTC President Ronald E. Thomas. “As the state of Minnesota faces challenging financial issues, our college must work harder than ever to stay true to its mission of providing top-flight technical education.”
Thomas noted that strong sports programs support that mission by offering more opportunities to more students. “Moving to a more competitive division will give the college the opportunity to recruit from a more diverse pool of students,” he said. “Providing new high-caliber athletics programs will allow the college to reach out to populations that might not otherwise consider a technical college such as DCTC.”
He added that moving to a more competitive level and adding new sports also increases opportunities to expand collaborative partnerships with public entities such as the city of Rosemount, Minn., the YMCA, school districts, and business and industry. Thomas pointed out that DCTC must explore all options to advance technical education as a viable and valuable resource for students looking at their higher education opportunities.
Cam Stoltz, the college’s athletics coordinator, reported that all four current Blue Knights teams are performing superbly with each program coming off its best season ever. Blue Knights baseball finished the season 32–17 and was ranked #7 nationally in the most recent NJCAA Men’s Baseball Div. III poll. Fastpitch put together a solid inaugural season, posting a record-setting 17 wins against 23 losses.
“Women and men’s soccer have competed at the NJCAA Div. I level since 2003,” Stoltz said, adding that both programs had their most wins to date last season.