NSSF implements new program to grow collegiate shooting sports by 20% in five years
By Jim Shepherd
The National Shooting Sports Foundation has announced a new initiative with the ambitious goal of growing shooting sports at the collegiate level. Not just growing the sports, but growing them twenty percent over the next five years.
The NSSF's Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative (CSSI) will "provide both financial and non-financial assistance in creating new college shooting teams and clubs and strengthening existing programs." The NSSF's Zach Snow will be heading up the initiative. "Youth shooting programs are very popular nationwide with students grades 12 and under," he says, "as these students go off to college, many would jump at the opportunity to get involved or continue their participation in the shooting sports."
According to the NSSF, that growth isn't just targeted at graduates of the highly successful Scholastic Clay Target Program, but will expand to include rifle, and pistol competition in addition to shotguns. If that's the case, it may be that the newest scholastic competition, Scholastic Steel, may also serve as a feeder for students who want to continue their handgun shooting competition into their college experience.
Without having spoken to a college administrator, it seems safe to say there will be several colleges and universities where the reaction to such idea might be accurately described as a "conniption fit". With faculties and staffs that pride themselves on being "gun free zones" it may be a tough deal to grow shooting. Having said that, I think it's a great idea to press the idea of safe and structured shooting competitions on colleges and universities. Like bass fishing - which has gotten traction at colleges and universities across the country, shooting sports are "gender blind" - men and women are more than capable of competing evenly with each other.
When I was a college student, we had a collegiate rifle team, and it wasn't a big deal. Our practice facility was located alongside other athletic and classroom facilities, and there were no concerns of safety. All shooting was strictly supervised, including our practice times. Since the program was supervised and coached by military personnel assigned to teach in our ROTC program, we operated under rigid training rules.
Today, there are still shooting programs out there, in a variety of disciplines and levels from collegiate intramural and club levels to the NCAA RIfle Championships and the ACUI Intercollegiate Shotgun Championships. Hopefully, the NSSF's support through the CSSI will see those programs growing in popularity and promotion.
Republished from The Outdoor Wire.