NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University will be the first institution in the Southland Conference to produce ESPN3 telecasts for all home football, basketball, soccer and volleyball games.

At its quarterly meeting Monday, the SFA Board of Regents approved funding for equipment and renovations to the William R. Johnson Coliseum and possibly other on-campus athletic facilities. The equipment and renovations are needed to facilitate the delivery of SFA games through the ESPN3 platform.

ESPN3 is ESPN's live, digital, 24-hour multiplatform sports network, which delivers more than 4,300 global sports events annually. ESPN3 events are accessible via, the WatchESPN App or on television through Xbox LIVE Gold subscription, Apple TV and Roku.

ESPN representatives will visit campus in November to assess specific needs for renovations and equipment, according to Athletic Director Robert Hill. The renovations are expected to be completed in spring 2015. The first ESPN3 telecast is planned to be the soccer team's home opener in late summer 2015.

The board approved spending up to $500,000 on the necessary improvements. Funding for the projects will be provided by proceeds from the sale of right-of-way to the state for the upcoming widening of Starr Avenue on the south side of campus.

The board also voted Monday to name a new facility to be constructed at Jaycees Field at the Nacogdoches Baseball Park Complex the Robert and Tyann Akins Clubhouse. The naming will be effective at the conclusion of fundraising and completion of the facility's construction at the field, which is home to the Lumberjack baseball team.

The new facility will provide dressing and training rooms, office and storage space, and upgraded amenities to help the university continue to attract the best student-athletes, Hill said.

Robert Akins, a 1958 SFA alumnus and football letterman, was a highly successful high school baseball coach and member of the Texas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. After his retirement, he and his wife, Tyann, moved back to Nacogdoches and with their son, Stacy, opened Stacy's Deli. Mr. Akins passed away in 2013.

"He was just a great supporter of our Lumberjack baseball team and volunteered many service hours overseeing the maintenance of the facility," said Robert Hill, SFA director of athletics. "He became a part of our team."

The third phase of the university's energy savings performance project with Siemens Industry Inc. was approved by the board Monday, as well. The budget was set at approximately $11.3 million. Guaranteed energy savings will be used to pay the project's debt service cost.

During the meeting Monday, the board also approved:

  • a new 12-credit-hour certificate in Sustainable Community Development to be offered by the College of Liberal and Applied Arts;
  • changing the name of the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis in the College of Liberal and Applied Arts to the Department of Anthropology, Geography and Sociology, better reflecting the disciplines within that department;
  • a licensing agreement with Brownswood Nursery for the sale of SFA's "Purple Pride" plum tree;
  • revisions to academic, student affairs and financial affairs policies;
  • the annual audit plan and related reports;
  • additional grant awards allocable to fiscal year 2014 totaling $48,570 and grant awards allocable to fiscal year 2015 totaling more than $6.1 million;
  • a bond refunding and issuance resolution for refinancing purposes; and
  • the purchase of the Student Enablement Application Alpha Program from the Education Advisory Board at a cost of $295,000.