Bluefield State to Add 12 Sports, Including Men’s and Women’s Swimming

Bluefield State College Sunday announced the addition of 12 sports to its athletic department for the 2021-22 academic year, including men’s and women’s swimming.

The headline addition is football, which returns after being discontinued in 1980. Bluefield State offers 10 sports and competes in Division II. The announcement would more than double the size of the Big Blues athletic department, from 10 sports to 22 and from 150 student-athletes to an estimated 400.

In addition to football and the two swimming programs, the college will add women’s soccer, women’s golf, women’s acrobatics and tumbling, women’s bowling, wrestling and men’s and women’s track and field (indoor and outdoor).

“Making this commitment to these young people also means making a commitment to doing all the things that go with a full-bore athletics program: new and improved facilities, upgraded training, residences and meals,” interim director of athletics Derrick Price said in a college statement. “It also means working with the Provost and Deans so that our athletes have a tremendous academic experience as well. Bluefield State has a proud sports tradition, including two national football championships. I feel blessed to be here now and help write a new chapter to our story.”

Bluefield State is a historically black college and university (HBCU) located in West Virginia. It retains that distinction despite its student body now being overwhelmingly white.

“Expanding our athletics program is integral to the goals we set shortly after coming to Bluefield State,” college president Robin Capehart said. “Our first priority remains attracting more students. As an HBCU, we have an obligation to recruiting more African American students. We have done that. … Adding these sports will increase opportunities for more students and add a vibrancy that we’ve lacked for too long. It also strengthens our relationships in the community as we partner on the use of various facilities.”

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