In spring 2012, women’s sand volleyball will emerge as an NCAA sport. According to ncaa.org, “An emerging sport is a women’s sport recognized by the NCAA that is intended to help schools provide more athletics opportunities for women, more sport sponsorship options for institutions and help that sport achieve NCAA championship status. ”
As the months tick down until the first serve in the sand, programs are popping up at both big-time universities and smaller colleges across the country. This blog post focuses on questions about NCAA women’s sand volleyball and its future within college athletics. (Look for future posts to tackle other issues.)
Ever since the introduction of beach volleyball at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the sport has enjoyed a boom in interest and popularity throughout the world. Since then, professional organizations like the Association of Volleyball Professionals (U.S. pro beach volleyball tour) and the Federation of International Volleyball (international beach volleyball competition) have seen tremendous growth as the sport has spread from its roots in California.
According to Beach Dig, schools competing in the sport will field five two-person teams per event, for a total of 10 starters per squad, and will participate in between eight and 16 events per year, depending on their budgets. Schools that have committed so far include Florida State, Georgia State, Tulane University and the University of Southern California.
Interested in playing sand volleyball in college? To do so, athletes must be current full-time undergraduate or graduate students at a participating school. Most participating programs will offer scholarships for student-athletes, but the actual number will vary by NCAA division. Current indoor volleyball players will be allowed to play the sand game at their respective schools; however, the NCAA has set up sanctions that reward schools for using different players for each program.
Learn more about the different rules and equipment of sand volleyball as we continue our coverage next week.