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An overview of Point Park University athletics – Croup’s Corner

A guide to Point Park sports

Photo+by+Kendall+Paige.+Sophomore+middle%2Fright+side+hitter%2C+Ashley+Taylor%2C+makes+a+play+during+their+game+against+Corncordia+on+August+24.
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An overview of Point Park University athletics – Croup’s Corner

Photo by Kendall Paige. Sophomore middle/right side hitter, Ashley Taylor, makes a play during their game against Corncordia on August 24.

Photo by Kendall Paige. Sophomore middle/right side hitter, Ashley Taylor, makes a play during their game against Corncordia on August 24.

Photo by Kendall Paige. Sophomore middle/right side hitter, Ashley Taylor, makes a play during their game against Corncordia on August 24.

Photo by Kendall Paige. Sophomore middle/right side hitter, Ashley Taylor, makes a play during their game against Corncordia on August 24.

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Photo by Kendall Paige. Sophomore middle/right side hitter, Ashley Taylor, makes a play during their game against Corncordia on August 24.

Photo by Kendall Paige. Sophomore middle/right side hitter, Ashley Taylor, makes a play during their game against Corncordia on August 24.

Point Park has invested in its dance and theater programs heavily over the years, establishing itself as one of the top dance schools in the country and one that places a heavy emphasis on the arts.

The university has also proven that it is committed to investing in athletics, giving hundreds of student athletes the opportunity to participate in intercollegiate athletics. Point Park has established one of the top athletic departments in the River States Conference (more on that later) and has evolved into a diverse program with a winning tradition.

If you’re new to Point Park, this column will serve as a crash course in Point Park athletics. If you’re a returning student, you still might learn something about your school’s sports teams if you read this to the end.

PIONEERS AND BISON We call ourselves the Point Park Pioneers and the bison serves as our mascot, as it has since 1967, the school’s first year of intercollegiate competition.

Point Park currently fields 14 varsity sports teams: Both men’s and women’s basketball, cross country, golf, track and field and soccer; baseball, softball and volleyball. Competitive cheer and dance is the newest addition to the Point Park athletic department, participating in its first season of competition this year.

Point Park is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The NAIA puts a strong emphasis on enhancing the character-building aspects of athletics. It is smaller than the NCAA and is comprised mostly of small schools across the country.

The NAIA includes over 260 schools, while NCAA Division I alone has nearly 350 schools.

NEW NAME, SAME CONFERENCE
Point Park joined the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) during the 2012-13 school year and received the KIAC Commissioner’s Cup, awarded to the top overall athletic department in the conference, three of the last four years. The conference will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2016 with a new title.

The KIAC officially became the River States Conference on Jul. 1, marking the 100th anniversary of the conference that includes schools in Ky., Ind., Pa., W.Va. and Ohio.

Conference officials announced in March plans to rebrand the oldest conference in the NAIA to better represent the 13 member schools across its five states.

LOCATIONS
Downtown Pittsburgh isn’t exactly an ideal location for a college sports program, but Point Park makes it work.

The only team you can find competing regularly on campus is the volleyball team. The gym on the fifth floor of the Student Center plays host to all Point Park volleyball home games as well as the annual Battle of the Boulevard tournament. Admission is free to all sporting events in the gym.

The Point Park men’s and women’s soccer teams will call Highmark Stadium home for the fourth year in 2016. The field where the women’s soccer team won its first KIAC championship is only a scenic 20-minute walk from campus. Also home to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the United Soccer League, admission is free to all regular season men’s and women’s soccer games at Highmark Stadium.

Both basketball teams travel to the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) South gymnasium for home games. There’s no need to take an Uber or Lyft to CCAC to cheer on the basketball teams. Point Park frequently offers free “Fan Vans” that shuttle students from campus to CCAC South for the evening. Student admission is $2 and more often than not, the men and women both play home games on the same night, which means fans get two games for the price of one.

When the snow begins to melt after a long winter, hop on a shuttle to support the Point Park baseball and softball teams. Point Park Field at Green Tree Park has hosted the Point Park baseball team since the fall of 2010 and Lind Field at Fairhaven Park in Kennedy Township is home to all Point Park softball home games.

LET’S GO PIONEERS!
I’ll preview the fall sports teams in this column during the next few weeks as the season kicks off. While you wait for those previews, let’s recap what you’ve learned today:

The chant is, “Let’s go Pioneers!” The bison is on our logo and you’re bound to see the bison mascot roaming campus occasionally, but our teams are identified as the Point Park Pioneers.

Point Park participates in the River States Conference, formerly the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, along with 12 other schools from a total of five states. The River States Conference is a member of the National Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

It is free to attend almost any Point Park sporting event. Plus, even though the volleyball team is the only one that plays on campus, Point Park’s athletic facilities are easily accessible.

For more on Point Park sports, head to pointpark.edu and click on the “Athletics” tab, or follow the athletic department on social media @PointParkSports. Of course, be sure to pick up a Globe every week and turn to the sports section to read student coverage of Pioneer athletics, or head to ppuglobe.com.

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