Carlow U. to start a men's basketball program in the fall

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Carlow University announced this afternoon that it is starting a men's basketball team beginning this fall.

University President Suzanne Mellon made the announcement during a news conference at the A.J. Palumbo Science Center on the school's Oakland campus.

The team is the second men's squad to compete at Carlow, the school said, and it will take its place alongside existing teams -- women's basketball, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball and men's and women's cross country.

The men's basketball team will compete in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which is under the auspices of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, an organization separate from the NCAA. Carlow's women's basketball team already competes in the conference, as do the men's and women's basketball teams from Point Park University.

Carlow, founded as a women's institution in 1929, is now coed, with males accounting for 9 percent of its undergraduate students and 14 percent of its graduate students. Ms. Mellon said she expects that share to continue to grow, aided by her announcement today.

The school's total enrollment is about 2,300.

Ms. Mellon said the decision was not connected to a recent announcement from nearby Chatham University that it may add men's athletics if it decides to go coed in 2015. She also said it wasn't a financial decision.

"It was focused on student need and diversifying our student offerings," she said.

During the news conference, Tim Keefer was announced as the men's basketball coach. He is an experienced teacher and coach, having worked with the Pittsburgh city schools and area colleges, the school said. Mr. Keefer was flanked at the news conference by some of the men who will be on the team next fall.

The team will be called the Celtics, and players can receive partial athletic scholarships. It will play its games at Oakland Catholic High School, where the women's team also plays.

Amy Neil, Carlow's spokeswoman, said the start-up costs for the team will be $100,000 but the program should at least break even "almost immediately."

First Published March 17, 2014 2:57 PM

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