Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

June 24, 2013

Q&A: NSU Athletic Director Tony Duckworth

TAHLEQUAH — The days of Northeastern State opening up its new basketball arena keep closer and closer. The new facility will fit 3,100 for basketball contests and nearly a thousand more for graduations or concerts. Nearly all of the frame work on the outside is complete, and it won’t be long before NSU begins settling into its new basketball home.

Recently, Tony Duckworth answered questions about NSU’s new home, which is slated to open in October.

At this point, is the arena only scheduled to host basketball games and graduations?

I think the university as a whole will be looking at a variety of events that can take place in here. As I mentioned to (NSU president) Steve Turner, it would be a shame if 95 percent of the events that took place in here were basketball. From commencement to potential concerts and other types of events that seem to work in a facility like this, we certainly want to give it as much exposure and promote Northeastern State in the most positive light possible. I think that goes just beyond basketball games.

With the addition of the new facility, are there any discussions of adding any additional sports at NSU, more specifically volleyball or wrestling?

At this point, we’re comfortable with the NCAA Division II minimum sport requirement, which is 10. We have five men and five women, and there is the option to go six women and four men, but we’re not discussing anything like that. We just want to focus on addressing the needs for the 10 sports that we currently operate. Once you start talking about adding new sports, you have to figure out where that funding is coming from, and that creates the age-old question: are we going to start carving out money from existing sports? The president and I are of the mindset that we don’t want to go down that path.

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