Walsh University Adding Varsity STUNT and Sprint Football to Athletic Program

Walsh University is pleased to announce the addition of two new sports to the University’s athletic program: A women’s varsity STUNT team and a men’s sprint football team.  The search for coaches for these two new sports will begin immediately so that the teams may compete beginning with the 2023-2024 school year.

“After a year of research and reflection, we are delighted to move forward with enhancing our portfolio of competitive athletic programming,” said Walsh University President Dr. Tim Collins. “Our student-athletes excel in the classroom and on the field while demonstrating core values such as integrity, service and community. We are committed to athletics playing a critical part as we seek to be an education partner for life for our students and alumni.”

STUNT, the fastest growing female intercollegiate sport in the country, has been voted back onto the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women list by the Committee on Women’s Athletics. The legislation will be up for a member vote at all three Divisions at the January 2023 NCAA convention.

The Great Midwest Athletic Conference will sponsor its inaugural conference championship in the Spring of 2023. Current G-MAC members that sponsor the sport of STUNT include Ashland University, Tiffin University and Ursuline College, with the potential for additional members to sponsor in 2023-24. Each G-MAC program will compete against other conference members twice per season.

The competitive team sport derived from cheerleading removes the crowd-leading element and focuses on the technical and athletic components of cheer which include partner stunts, pyramids, basket tosses, jumps and tumbling in a head-to-head game format.

Walsh will also be joining the newly formed Midwest Sprint Football League (MSFL) next fall and looks to roster 50 athletes for its inaugural season. Men’s sprint football originated in 1934 by the president of the University of Pennsylvania who wanted to assure that smaller, talented student athletes still had opportunities to compete at the intercollegiate level. The sport has produced some big-time alums, including NFL coaching legend George Allen. With a focus on speed and agility, sprint football follows all the standard American football rules, including 11 on 11 format, but it requires all players to weigh 178 pounds or less and have a minimum of 5% body fat to be eligible.

According to Walsh University Head Football Coach John Fankhauser, sprint football will give more athletes a chance to play.

“We are in the football capital of the world,” said Head Coach Fankhauser. “Adding a sprint team will give more students the opportunity to compete in a sport they love at the collegiate level. They’ll have different coaching staffs, different uniforms and entirely different schedules.”

Other schools competing in the MSFL include Bellarmine University, Calumet College of St. Joseph, Quincy University, Fontbonne University, Midway University and St. Mary of the Woods College.

Read the article in the Canton Repository.