A Different Kind of Spirit

San AntonioOur Lady of the Lake University (OLLU), in San Antonio, Texas, has long been known for its strong academic programs and vibrant campus life. However, one thing that is noticeably absent from the university is a football team. Despite the fact that football is one of the most popular sports in the United States, OLLU has chosen not to have a football team.

The decision to forgo a football team was made by the university’s Board of Trustees in the early 2000s. At the time, the board felt that it would be too costly and time-consuming to start and maintain a football program. Additionally, the board was concerned that the university’s resources would be better spent on other areas, such as academics and student services.

“I believe OLLU’s decision not to have a football team is a wise one. Football is an expensive sport to maintain, and the university would need to invest in facilities, equipment, and personnel in order to field a competitive team,” OLLU student, Dennis Bryant said. “Additionally, the university would need to commit to a rigorous schedule of games and practices, which could take away from the focus on academics.”

“Due to limited facilities and space on campus, including office spaces, we have not made any attempts to add football,” OLLU Athletic Director, Shane Hurley said. “As far as my department is concerned, we are not against it; however, we simply lack the proper turf facility, storage, office space, and administrative infrastructure in staffing and transportation, to support one at this time.”

Despite the lack of a football team, OLLU still offers a variety of sports for students to participate in. The university has teams in basketball, soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball, tennis, cross country, track, golf, and competitive cheer and dance. Additionally, the university has a strong intramural program that allows students to participate in a variety of sports without the commitment of a varsity team.

OLLU uses a holistic approach to supporting all students, so our student-athletes have much of the same support on campus. However, coaches must use their staffing tools and our facilities to gauge and meet the needs of student-athletes through strength training and injury prevention exercises, as well as recovery through athletic training services.

All student-athletes are subject to grade checks and study hall hours by their coaches; they cannot be successful in sports for very long if not successful in the classroom.

“There’s not a benefit from not having a football team. We are not avoiding adding football for some benefit,” Hurley said. “While we have grown tremendously in the last few years, our growth has not led to new facilities. Something else to keep in mind is that the university is landlocked a bit by the surrounding neighborhood.”

Hurley includes that, in looking at our conference, we are outpacing all conference opponents in new program expansion. Currently, OLLU is looking into E-Gaming, Bowling, and the potential of adding a band. Most of this would be targeting the fall of 2024.

Ultimately, the decision to not have a football team at OLLU was made with the best interests of the university in mind. The board felt that the resources would be better spent elsewhere and that the university could still provide a great experience for its students without a football team.

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