Wesley plans to keep athletics

Wesley College made the NCAA Division III playoffs in football last fall for the 14th time in the last 15 years. Delaware State News file photos

DOVER — Wesley College now knows that its future lies as part of Delaware State.

And there’s a lot of details that need to be worked out in the coming school year as Wesley becomes part of DSU.

But Wesley officials also said on Thursday that they expect athletics to remain a part of its future.

“Our athletic programs are focused on being the best we can be this year and in the years to come as part of the DSU system,” said Wolverines athletic director Tracey Short.

“Wesley has a proud tradition with our athletic programs of being successful in our conferences as well as regionally and nationally. As their D-III affiliate, we believe we can have even more success in the future.”

Short pointed out that Wesley has competed against several teams representing satellite campuses of schools like Penn State and Rutgers.

Athletics-wise, nothing is expected to change for the Wolverines this school year as officials work out the details of the transition.

DSU president Dr. Tony Allen said it will be important to allow Wesley to keep some of its identity in the schools’ new configuration.

“I want to be very clear about that,” he said in the two schools’ joint video press conference on Thursday. “I think Wesley’s brand has a lot of equity in the Dover community and in Delaware more specifically. How we use that equity is yet to be determined but I can assure you that we will use it.

“I don’t know if it’s the ‘Wesley Campus,’ or some other construction. But you can be assured that want to protect that legacy as well as our own in this transaction.”

The Wolverines reached the NCAA Division III playoffs in men’s basketball over the winter.

The Wolverines made the NCAA Division III playoffs in both football and men’s basketball this past school year. Wesley has reached the postseason in football for 15 straight seasons, including 14 NCAA tournament appearances.

Of much more immediate concern to both Wesley’s and DelState’s athletic programs is the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

More and more conferences and individual schools have either canceled seasons or altered plans for football and other sports this fall.
Wesley had one football opponent — the College of New Jersey — cancel its football season already. The New Jersey Athletic Conference as a whole was slated to discus the situation on Thursday.

Neither DSU nor Wesley has had students back on campus for summer workouts. But the presidents of both schools say they plan to work together on regularly testing student-athletes through a program called ‘Testing for America.’

“We will certainly take advantage of that,” said Wesley president Bob Clark.

With all that in mind, Clark said Wesley plans to proceed as normally as it can with its athletic programs this coming school year. He said the school’s acquisition by Delaware State hasn’t changed how the Wolverines see the future.

“We’re here and we’re here to stay,” said Clark. “All our fall athletics have full schedules. We thought it best to plan for that. It’s easier to scale back rather then wait until the last minute and try to scale up.”