Sports' Role in Small-College Enrollment

In his first year as president of Alderson-Broaddus College, Rick Creehan is overseeing a transformation of the Philippi, W.Va., campus through the expansion of the school’s athletics program. Football, men’s and women’s lacrosse, women’s tennis and men’s volleyball will begin play in 2012, and the college intends to add a marching band, a color guard, and cheerleading and dance programs in 2013. Groundbreaking on a new outdoor multisport complex will take place in April, although Creehan says that, as of now, the college has only raised enough money to pay for the turf and lights.

It’s the same formula that Creehan followed at Adrian College as executive vice president, working under Jeffrey Docking, that school’s like-minded president. Adrian doubled its enrollment and operating budget in six years through the construction of sports and recreation facilities — the two men had similar successes earlier at Washington & Jefferson College — and now Docking is moving on to an expansion of the academic program at Adrian while his former colleague toils at the obscure and unheralded A-B.

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