LIVONIA, Mich. - Despite being a small school, Madonna University has 19 team sports, and it's about to make it an even 20.
Madonna's volleyball team, the Crusaders, has been going strong for more than 30 years, and since then 18 sports have been added.
"When I arrived here, we had 300 student-athletes," said athletic director Scott Kennell. "This past year, we were at 405. Possibly, this year, we may have 450."
On Wenesday, officials from the school announced the student-athlete number will rise again with the addition of a football program, expected to start in 2020.
"Football has come up so many times since I've been here," Kennell said. "Not just with students on campus, but from people taking tours for admissions."
Kennell said he's aware it's unusual for a school with about 1,300 students to be adding more programs instead of subtracting.
The Crusader football team will play in the NAIA league, the same league Concordia University Ann Arbor and Adrian's Siena Heights University play in.
Madonna University has 24 scholarships to give out. The school, its students and the fans can't wait to get started.
"I loved football in high school and I loved going to all the games and cheering on the team," said student Yogi Hang. "I'm really excited."
The school is currently in the process of a national search for a coach, aiming to be ready for autumn 2020 to begin.
Kennell said he's spoken with the athletic director at Lawrence Technological University, because they recently went through the process of adding a football team.
Both Madonna and Lawrence Tech are expected to join and compete in NAIA's Mid-States Football Association.
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