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The Suffolk University athletics program is stepping up its game with the addition of six varsity sports, bringing the total number of varsity programs at Suffolk to 19 and providing Rams student-athletes with more opportunities to compete and succeed.

Women's golf and men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field will begin in the upcoming 2016-17 academic year, while women's hockey will have a two-year build-in period with an anticipated first varsity season of 2018-19.

The addition of the programs will give talented student-athletes the opportunity to compete in nine men's varsity programs and 10 women's varsity programs at the University.

"This is an exciting time for Suffolk athletics," said Director of Athletics Cary McConnell. "To announce that we are expanding competitive and educational settings for future Rams is yet another step in Suffolk's mission to recognize and develop a student's full potential while wearing blue-and-gold and afterwards."

A five-year plan for the Suffolk athletics program was framed several years ago aimed to offer student-athletes additional possibilities for Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) competition.

“A major part of the plan was to create more opportunities for our student athletes to compete in intercollegiate sports,” said McConnell. “We looked at other schools in our conference and tried to see what additional sports would fit here.”

McConnell says that the new Suffolk men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams already have a place to call home – the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. The new outdoor track and field teams will compete at East Boston Memorial Park, the newly-created home of many Suffolk sports teams.

The women’s ice hockey program will be a work in progress for the next two years. “Women’s ice hockey is a fast-growing sport at both the high school and collegiate level,” said McConnell. “We’re very excited to add women’s ice hockey to our athletics program, but now we have to go out and recruit an entire team.”

McConnell noted that academics is an essential part of the University experience for Suffolk Rams. The average grade point average of the 240 Suffolk student-athletes was more than 3.1 this past year.

“I’m thrilled to see our athletics program prosper,” said McConnell. “Adding six new teams shows the tremendous commitment by Suffolk University to provide our student-athletes with a great place to compete and, more importantly, to receive a great education.”