Men's Soccer Big 10 Championships

Spectators celebrate Penn State men's soccer team as they win the big 10 championship game against Indiana University at Jeffery Field on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021 in University Park, Pa. The Nittany Lions beat Indiana 3-0.

Penn State has one of the most prominent and extensive athletic programs in the entire country.

The university is home to 29 varsity teams and has numerous options and opportunities for both men and women to come and compete for the Nittany Lions.

So, to insinuate the school doesn’t offer enough sports might seem like an unfair criticism.

However, there are still a number of athletic opportunities Penn State could offer to further diversify and improve its already loaded set of programs.

Women’s wrestling

One obvious possible addition comes with a sport already offered at the school.

The men’s wrestling team is one of the more successful program’s Penn State has to offer, but it does not offer women’s wrestling, and that’s something the school could change.

There are currently 43 women’s wrestling programs in the NCAA.

Admittedly, none of those 43 schools come close to the level of excellence Penn State has in athletics, but this proves how significant a move it would be if Penn State were to add women’s wrestling.

The university could play a huge role in taking women’s wrestling a step further in making it more recognizable and widespread in DI schools.

Water polo

Another sport Penn State should look into adding is a sport featured at an Olympic level — water polo.

Water polo is different from women’s wrestling, as there are numerous schools with big-budget Division I athletic programs that already feature the sport, proving that Penn State adding the sport would not be a drastic change of pace.

While it is a bit of a niche sport, water polo still has plenty to bring to the table for Penn State, as the addition of the sport could provide a new audience and source of engagement for Penn State Athletics.

It is admittingly a bit strange how water polo is constituted across the United States, as colleges and high schools alike are hit or miss when it comes to the question of if they offer the sport.

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Penn State does already house club water polo, and Penn State Behrend runs a Division III program, but elevating the sport to a proper Division I sport at the university’s flagship campus at University Park would be a huge boost for the team.

However, with Penn State already having a history of sending athletes to the Olympics, investing in a water polo — both men’s and women’s — program could only potentially further enhance that resume.

Curling

Another Olympic-level sport Penn State should have interest in adding is a team for curling.

Curling, like water polo, is not an immensely popular sport, but it has some audience somewhere that could certainly only add more eyes on the athletics department in Happy Valley.

Men’s and women’s curling teams would, in theory, also be a big addition for the students and fans who attend Penn State sporting events.

Curling is a unique and distinct sport, and if it were added, there would at least be some contingency of students wanting to take a look at the Olympic-style event.

Penn State currently boasts curling at the club level, and it has already caught on, touting its own student section, “The Stone Zone.”

Skiing

Alongside its storied football and wrestling programs, Penn State should bring men’s and women’s skiing into the fold of its varsity level sports at University Park.

Skiing is currently only a club at Penn State, but as the Olympics prove, there is very much a way for this recreational activity to also be a full-blown team sport.

Since skiing is such a popular hobby, there could also be plenty of interest from fans and students in this new sport, which would further enhance its feasibility.

The main catch here would be that it’s hard to guarantee a skiable environment at all times, even with locations like Tussey Mountain in close proximity to campus.

If worse comes to worst, though, Penn State would just have to commit to more away meets than home meets.

If there is demand from athletes to be a part of the team, then surely this won’t be too much of a deal-breaker.

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