Green Bay, Wis.—Turn on the lights, fire-up the loud speakers, polish the hardwood. Sports are coming back to UW-Green Bay’s Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan Campuses.
UW-Oshkosh, UW-Green Bay and UW-Stevens Point made a joint announcement last week to provide opportunities for competitive play at Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Marinette; Fond du Lac and Fox Cities (UW-Oshkosh) and Marshfield and Wausau (UW-Stevens Point).
(Note to media: UW-Green Bay DOES NOT refer to its campuses as “two-year” as there are four-year bachelor’s degree programs on all of UW-Green Bay’s campuses.)
Together these schools make up the newly formed WCSL, the Wisconsin Competitive Sports League. The league membership schools will compete against each other in a conference format and also have flexibility to schedule contests against other comparable programs both in and out of state.
“The return of competitive sports to our Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan campuses fulfills a commitment and trend that all of our UW-Green Bay campuses will emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever,” said Sheboygan and Manitowoc Campus’ Executive Officer (CEO) Jamie Schramm. “Our dedication to our students and connection with our communities is unwavering. Our competitive sports league and the opportunities it provides our students and communities to come together is an important piece of our shared success. I look forward to cheering on our sports teams as they compete in a program that is robust and focuses on the wholistic success of our student athletes.”
Initial sport offerings according to Penny Maletzke, program manager for competitive sports at Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan campuses, will be women’s volleyball in fall of 2021; men’s basketball in winter 21-22 and men’s and women’s tennis in spring of 2022. The athletics programs took a pause during the pandemic. Maletzke said the campuses are starting out with fewer offerings as they return from the pandemic, but with anticipation of adding more offerings in the future.
“Athletics has played a tremendous role by enhancing student life and involvement, but it also brings opportunity to the greater Marinette/Menominee Community to come out and see a terrific game,” said Marinette Campus CEO Cindy Bailey. “For years the Marinette Campus has produced quality athletic programs where our athletes have learned valuable and practical skills on and off of the court, enriching their entire collegiate experience. Our Fall 2019 our women’s volleyball team won the WCC State Championship and our men’s basketball team earned the state title in 2015 and has produced all-conference honors for many of the players over the years. We are excited to return with Dan Porath as our women’s volleyball coach and Bryan Wickstrom will head up our men’s basketball team. Having the two veteran coaches leading us into our new league will help poise our campus for success in the coming year.”
According to a press release issued last week, a special committee tasked with creating the WCSL anticipates sport offerings increasing in the future, including league expansion to other UW institutions. The success of the league requires extensive planning to provide for the health, safety, and well-being of the student-athletes and coaches, which remains a top priority.
The WCSL is built on well-established relationships between the named campuses. Administration and student leadership support will provide meaningful and vibrant campus environments. Hosting sporting events will showcase their outstanding county-owned facilities.
“The opportunity to continue to provide a pathway for students to engage in competitive sports is exciting,” noted UW-Green Bay’s Vice Chancellor for University Inclusivity and Student Affairs Corey King. “This partnership between the three universities is a definitive example of our collective desire to create the best student experience possible!”