Eagles confident enrolment drop not affecting sports

Declining enrolment at St. Thomas University hasn’t affected the athletics department, said athletics director Michael Eagles.

Enrolment at STU has dropped by 6.5 per cent, resulting in 144 fewer students than 2013. Eagles says recruiting for the athletics department hasn’t changed.

“The goal of our teams is to recruit students to the institution,” says Eagles. “We’re looking to add to the total enrollment versus taking students that are going to be here anyways.”

Eagles doesn’t think the drop in enrollment has affected attendance at games either. Eagles notes that the drop in enrolment would be more felt if STU was a school with 50,000 students and had lost 6.5 per cent.

Fred Connors, the head coach of the STU women’s basketball team, says the drop in enrolment hasn’t affected his team so far, but he’s paying attention to the long term affect as well.

“We have a large quality recruiting class coming in that we are quite happy with,” says Connors. “However, long term it has an impact on budgets and that always affects everyone.”

Connors said the attendance at games isn’t necessarily a reflection on enrolment. Overall, he’s been happy with the atmosphere at games and the energy fans bring.

Connors is happy with the quality of athletes his team brings in, and says they will continue to focus their efforts there.

“I feel quality over quantity is a far better option for us at this time,” said Connors. “I know the qualities that do attract students to STU…and that’s what we need to focus on.”

Despite what Connors describes as a push towards math and science focused programs in other universities, offering a liberal arts education is important. He says recruiting to that isn’t as hard as it sounds.

“What we do offer is a great quality programming for those who do want a liberal arts education.”

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