Alvernia will add Esports beginning in the 2021-22 school year, then add Women's Wrestling and Men's Ice Hockey in the 2022-23 school year. Esports will be varsity sport number 28 for the Golden Wolves and following the addition of Women's Wrestling and Men's Ice Hockey, Alvernia will be at 30 sports.
"As always, we are looking to meet the needs of our students and community while also providing additional opportunities to prospective student-athletes," said Stiles. "Like many of our sports, particularly the ones we've added in the past 5-6 years, these offerings will allow us to recruit and retain new students while expanding our geographic recruiting footprint."
Esports will join the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE). Men's Ice Hockey will be an NCAA Division III team and join Alvernia's Women's Ice Hockey program in the MAC and has applied to also join the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC). Women's Wrestling will also be NCAA Division III. Alvernia joins Delaware Valley as the only two schools in the MAC to sponsor Women's Wrestling.
"The addition of Esports provides Alvernia with an opportunity to offer an experience that students really enjoy and will add to our overall experience at AU," said Alvernia University President John R. Loyack. "Our vision for the program is for Alvernia to become the Esports Hub of Berks County with a dedicated, state of the art esports suite as part of Reading CollegeTowne."
"Building upon the successes and momentum of our men's wrestling and women's ice hockey programs, which started last year, the next logical step was to provide additional opportunities for women and men, respectively," said Stiles. "And, the recent addition of women's wrestling to the list of NCAA Emerging Sports for Women allows Alvernia to be at the forefront of a sport that is growing exponentially for girls in high schools and clubs."
There are currently 10 universities within a three hour radius of Alvernia that sponsor Women's Wrestling and more to come with the NCAA recently adding it to its list of emerging sports. Alvernia will compete in dual matches and invitationals against those 10 schools in its first season and also look to compete in the Cliff Keen National Collegiate Championship that enters its second season in 2020-21.
The search for head coaches for all three sports will take place this fall.
Alvernia University - formerly Alvernia College -- is a four-year, private, Roman Catholic school located in east-central Pennsylvania. Originally founded in 1958, Alvernia started welcoming male and female students in 2008. Student-athletes compete in NCAA Division III.