By Michael Peters
A five member hiring committee will select a recreational sports director to lead the university’s first intramural sports program. Once chosen, the director is expected to move forward with implementing intramural sports programs on campus.
The development of a intramural sports program hinges on hiring a recreational sports director. Once this position is filled, the sports program at A&M-San Antonio can begin to grow, develop and offer students an avenue for competition and wellness.
“Since we are starting this up from scratch here on this campus, I think the ideal candidate would possess previous experience at another university with established sports so they would know where we want to be and have long term plans set forth,” said Jo Anna Benavides-Franke, associate vice president for student engagement and success.
During the fall term, the committee will evaluate candidates and make a recommendation to Melissa Mahan, vice president of student affairs. The director will work in a newly formed recreational sports department led by Franke.
Franke said she wants the sports director to start working within a month, but that will depend on who is hired and how quickly the new hire can transition from their previous job. Mahan said it could be as long as eight weeks before the recreational sports director begins working.
“Once we’ve identified that person they can start acting on agreements with other campuses, and putting together calendars and soliciting people to play for teams,” Franke said.
Qualifications for the position included a master’s degree in sports and recreation management and three years of progressive responsibility working in a recreational facility, according to Franke.
Franke said the position was posted through the office of human resources July 15 and closed August 15.
The committee includes Franke, Mahan, Chery Le Gras, director of student activities; Allison Garcia, senator for the college of education and kinesiology, and kinesiology professor John Smith.
Students began paying a $100 recreational sports fee this fall after a vote in the spring promised intramural sports programs.
The fee collected approximately $300,000 from students this semester for the recreational sports fee budget, Franke said.
SGA President Andrés Holliday, who follows recreational sports developments through monthly meetings with Mahan and President Maria Hernandez Ferrier, cited Ferrier’s resignation and a May hiring freeze as two delays to the process.
“I do know they’re working diligently to get everything together,” Holliday said. “What’s going on is this whole change in leadership has caused a wrench in the game. Whenever you have a change in leadership the entire boat is going to go in a different direction.”
Holliday said students have voiced their concerns about not yet having sports available this semester.
“We have to hire a director before we can move forward with intramural sports, so one of the things we’re looking at is recreational sports,” Holliday said. “Recreational sports would be 3 v. 3 basketball, 6 v. 6 flag football just to give our students an opportunity to really do something.”
Holliday identified campus space which could be used to give students a chance to play sports as the recreational sports director process continues.
“Between the Central Academic Building and the Patriots’ Casa there’s a nice 100 yard patch of grass and that’s an area I’m pushing to be utilized,” Holliday said.
Franke said potential sports are undetermined and depend on how many students are interested in joining a sports team and what those students want to play.
In the spring, Mahan said forums would be held to determine which sports would be offered for the fall semester. Franke said the recreational sports director will determine how to collect student input on which sports students want to play, but forums are still a possibility if that is what students want.
While the position to lead intramural sports moves ahead, many decisions are still under discussion.
“If we don’t have enough participation for two teams to compete against each other then we need to find other area colleges and universities to play against and it will depend on what sports they have,” Franke said.
In the meantime, Franke said the university has reached out to Palo Alto College regarding an intramural sports partnership. Palo Alto offers basketball, volleyball, flag football, soccer and dodgeball for the fall semester.
“We have reached out to them and they are willing to work with us since they have the fields,” she said. “Since they have the fields it would give our teams someone to play.”
Edward Moreno, intramural coordinator at Palo Alto, did not return calls for comment.