The USFSM campus, which will host the team, is working with USF Athletics, the USF Foundation, and the Rowing Steering Committee to launch the new Division I program. The team will compete with seven other crew teams in the American Athletic Conference.
The NCAA gave approval for the USF team in 2016 but it required USFSM and USF Athletics raise $1 million by 2020 in order to launch the program.
USFSM is hoping to raise that amount sooner. Through fundraisers such as the online “herdfunder,” the campus and its partners are reaching out to USF and USFSM supporters, including alumni, to request financial assistance.
The herdfunder can be accessed at usfsm.edu/rowing. Suggested levels of contribution range from $25 to $5,000.
Gifts to the Foundation will help to acquire top-notch coaching, start-of-the-art equipment and inclusion of the team in most competitive regattas.
“What a wonderful initiative to support,” longtime USFSM supporter Dr. Anila Jain, a USF alumna, said. “The Sarasota-Manatee community is such an important area for rowing and competitive events with athletes coming here from all over the USA and worldwide.
“Through this new program, we can help so many of our outstanding female athletes stay in our hometown to compete at the collegiate level and receive an excellent education,” she said.