PEORIA, Ill. - Bradley men's cross country runners will have the opportunity to compete for the Braves during the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships with the reinstatement of the school's men's outdoor track program for the 2012 season. Bradley Director of Athletics Dr. Michael Cross announced the immediate reinstatement of the program this afternoon.
The program will focus solely on distance and middle distance runners, utilizing the same student-athletes who compete for the men's cross country program, as well as the same coaching staff.
"This is an exciting opportunity for our student-athletes," said Cross. "Sponsoring a men's track program is an important component of a Missouri Valley Conference championship-caliber cross country program. We have done our research for a significant period of time and believe this will help elevate our team's performances."
"We are thrilled to be reinstating men's outdoor track here at Bradley," said Braves cross country and track head coach Marc Burns. "Our mission is to develop our program into a perennial cross country power in The Valley. The reinstatement of men's outdoor track will allow us to recruit and develop the type of student-athletes that will help us compete for Valley titles.
"The ability to race throughout the track season and compete at championship-level track meets, including the MVC and NCAA Championships, will provide the foundation for our student-athletes to continue to develop to their greatest potential," Burns added. "Their development during the track season will have a direct impact on our success the following fall in cross country
"I want to thank everyone involved for giving us the opportunity to compete for Valley titles in men's cross country, as well as the middle- and long-distance events on the track. For those that have worn Bradley on their chests in track in the past, know that we will represent the Braves with pride."
Dr. Cross added a variety of factors were considered in the decision to reinstate the men's outdoor track program.
"First, the best student-athletes in cross country demand a competitive opportunity to run track as well," said Dr. Cross. "We now will meet that need directly and we anticipate it will help us attract high-level student-athletes who will compete for MVC championships.
"Second, the type of training required for successful distance runners has the characteristics similar to those necessary for academic success, so we are excited about continuing to enroll strong students.
"Third, we have examined the economics associated with this decision and the addition of men's outdoor track will have no adverse economic impact on our budget due to additional sport sponsorship funding we will receive from the NCAA, and we can execute the re-instatement of the sport in full compliance with Title IX."
Bradley has a long men's track and field history, sponsoring the sport from 1900 until disbanding the program after the 1992 season. Bradley's first Olympic medalist was track and field athlete Charles Lambert "Pat" Redd, who won a silver medal in the broad jump at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles after winning national collegiate titles in the broad jump and triple jump that spring.
The reinstatement of men's outdoor track gives Bradley 15 NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletic programs, including seven men's teams: baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, men's cross country, women's cross country, men's golf, women's golf, men's soccer, softball, men's tennis, women's tennis, women's indoor track, men's outdoor track, women's outdoor track and women's volleyball.